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july/august 2009

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BY ALAN GIBSON, CHAIR

For those of you at the Convention: Welcome. To those of you not able to be here in Louisville: You are missed.

Normally, the columns in this Convention issue show the accomplishments of VVA’s committees. However, in this day of electronic communication and with the other articles in The Veteran, most of us are kept up to date on at least a quarterly basis. With this in mind, we would like to highlight some of the areas (two in each section of ETABO) for the new Committee to keep watch on and work on, beginning at the nomination process for the new committee chair. There are many things that should be discussed, but this column is limited to two.

EMPLOYMENT

Keep up the pressure on government agencies, both federal and state, to put into practice Veterans Preference with accountability. The law is still on the books, but many have sloughed it off as not necessary or really wanted.

We need to find meaningful ways to reduce the high rate of new veterans who are unemployed: OIE/OEF unemployment is 11 percent higher than the national average. If this continues, all veterans and the nation will suffer.

TRAINING

Guarantee that the training programs established on paper in the various agencies are funded and placed into practice. Accountability procedures must be established.

Allow veterans to use their education benefits for programs other than those run by government entities.

BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY

After ten years of a 3 percent goal being established for all agencies to give business to Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses (SDVOBs), there seems to be a disdain by most federal agencies to even attempt to accomplish the goal. This has to change quickly.

We need to get workable programs for veterans who want to go into business for themselves. This is especially true for the newest wounded warriors.

No matter what program we have or will have, without accountability with ramifications for not making these programs work, they mean nothing. We have all kinds of paper promises: they are nothing but potatoes and gravy without meat. If we are to realize a real workable Employment, Training, and Business Opportunity for ourselves and future generations of veterans, we must act now. It is no longer a few who need to be involved. It is all of us, in unison, working for veterans’ issues.

With the economy being as it is, we Vietnam veterans need to work as much as the younger veterans. We all need to pay attention to what is going on with Employment, Training, and Business Opportunity issues. These issues affect all of us.

Good luck to the next chair and committee. It has been an honor being the chair and a member of the BOD. Thanks go out to all of you for allowing me to serve you in these capacities.

 

 

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