(Washington, D.C.) – VVA National President John Rowan called for the creation of a new Veterans Economic Independence Administration within the Department of Veterans Affairs to assist veterans in their readjustment to civilian life by “ensuring that they get cohesive help in reintegrating into the society whose way of life they served to preserve.”
“Creation of this administration would amount to far more than a reshuffling of bureaucracies,” Rowan told a joint session of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs committees today. “It would consolidate separate programs that assist veterans to obtain and sustain meaningful work, or training, or education that will lead to a decent job at a living wage.”
This administration would give a new VA Undersecretary control over several programs run by the Department of Veterans Affairs, including the Vocational Rehabilitation Service and the Veterans Education Service. It would enhance and expand the Center for Veterans Enterprise. And it would maintain functional control, if not the outright transfer of the Veterans Employment and Training Service from the Department of Labor, as well as other jobs-related functions currently operated by states with federal dollars.
Rowan also noted VVA’s full support for advance appropriations, “which we believe will go a long way toward achieving a sustainable, timely, and predictable funding stream that will allow VA managers to properly plan for an increasing workload.”
“But money alone is not the answer,” Rowan cautioned. “There must be an insistence on accountability, which has been in short supply in both the Veterans Health Administration and Veterans Benefits Administration.”
Rowan also called on the VA, “which has not been particularly adept at outreach, to put a new emphasis on outreach, using new media in addition to billboard advertising and ads in key publications read by veterans to inform them of the benefits and care they have earned by virtue of their service in uniform.”