April 2012 - In This Issue
New Federal Education Benefit Accepting Applications
State to Honor Top Colleges for Vets
IDVA and IDES Partner for NEIU Hiring Event
Fiscal Woes Threaten Veterans' Services
Lottery Ticket Pays Off for Veterans
Julye is Veteran of the Month for May 2012

New Federal Education Benefit Accepting Applications

WelderDesigned to directly address veteran unemployment, the federal Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 created a new educational benefit for certain veterans who are ineligible for the Post 9/11 GI Bill.


Through this new Veteran Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP), pre-9/11 veterans who are unemployed and 35-60 years old may qualify for 12 months of education and retraining assistance.


Just launched in mid April, the VOW website will begin accepting VRAP applicants on May 15, 2012. The website and accompanying fact sheet provide veterans with full information on VRAP eligibility, as well as on other VOW to Hire Heroes provisions such as tax credits for employers, vocational rehabilitation services, transition assistance program, and U.S. Department of Labor resources.

Top Colleges for Veterans to be Honored

Cap and BooksIf you're current or former student veteran whose college experience was second to none, IDVA requests that you nominate the school for the Governor's Award for Excellence in Education.


Each spring and fall semester, Governor Pat Quinn and IDVA Director Erica Borggren will recognize a different college or university that contributes to the betterment of student veterans and their families across the state of Illinois. The nominated school must be a licensed, degree granting school in the state of Illinois.


The award will highlight the work of Illinois colleges and universities whose veterans services go above and beyond basic services, and whose accomplishments in veteran friendly programs significantly impact the overall experience of the student veteran community.


For more information, including nomination materials, please visit the Governor's Award homepage on IDVA's website.

IDVA, IDES Partner for Hiring Event at NEIU

Hometown HeroesMark your calendar for the "Helping & Hiring Our Hometown Heroes" event scheduled to take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 on the campus of Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU).


The event is being hosted by the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs and Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES).


Veterans who plan to attend are encouraged to dress in business attire and bring multiple copies of resumes. The "ready to hire" employers who will be in attendance include CBS Radio, U.S. State Department, Northwestern Mutual, Kelly Services, Prime Staffing and the Gateway Foundation, among many more. For more information, please check out the accompanying event flyer.


State Fiscal Woes a Threat to Veterans' Services

Up arrowBallooning costs of pension and Medicaid programs now make up 39% of state general revenue spending, squeezing out core state functions and programs. This year alone, pension and Medicaid growth necessitated $425 million in cuts in Governor Pat Quinn's FY13 budget.


The outlook for future budgets remains ominous for IDVA and every other state agency if the Illinois General Assembly fails to act this year on long-overdue Medicaid and pension reforms. Our Veterans' Homes, Veteran Service Officers, and other major programs that are on the line should lawmakers fail to act. As is increasingly recognized throughout Illinois, only through major reform this session can we prevent billions of program and service cuts in the coming year.


You can help Illinois veterans by urging your local lawmakers to tackle these difficult but necessary reforms this spring session. You may use this online tool from the Illinois Board of Elections to find contact information for your local elected officials.

Lottery Ticket Pays Off for Veterans

IDVA this month has awarded $263,633 in grants from Veterans Cash scratch-off lottery ticket sales. The funding will help eight non-profits deliver specialized programs and services for Illinois' veterans.


Fourth-quarter (FY 12) grants have been awarded to the following Illinois organizations:

  • Revelation Golf (Elk Grove Village)--$62,350 to support a therapeutic program for disabled veterans as a way to help improve their range of motion.
  • Disabled American Veterans, Department of Illinois (Springfield)--$29,783 to support veterans' services throughout Illinois.
  • Veterans Assistance Commission of Sangamon County--$25,000 for the VAC of Sangamon County's Dental Assistance program.
  • Bravehearts (Harvard)--$85,000 for therapeutic horseback riding and carriage driving programs for wounded military and veterans.
  • Goodwill Industries of Central Illinois (Peoria)--$25,000 to support of Goodwill's Stand Down and support of veterans at risk of homelessness.
  • Chicago Veterans Art Museum--$6,000 to provide art therapy workshops for veterans.
  • Chicago Horticultural Society (Oak Park)--$15,500 for therapeutic experiences for veterans with PTSD and other service-related conditions.
  • Chicago Veterans Economic Development Council--$15,000 to support summer and winter stand downs for Illinois veterans.

Veterans Cash has funded programs for veterans throughout Illinois. All proceeds from ticket sales are deposited into the Illinois Veterans Assistance Fund, making it the first Illinois Lottery ticket for which 100 percent of the net proceeds are dedicated to support Illinois veterans.


To apply for a grant, please download an application at the Veterans Cash website.


For more information about IDVA and its programs, please visit the agency's homepage.

Marlene Julye is May 2012 Veteran of the Month

Marlene JulyeThe Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs (IDVA) later this month will honor Marlene Julye, a Chicago resident and U.S. Navy veteran, at its May 2012 "Veteran of the Month."


Julye will be honored during IDVA's Helping & Hiring Our Hometown Heroes benefits fair on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at Northeastern Illinois University's Alumni Hall Student Union, 5500 North St. Louis Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60625.


The Illinois Veteran of the Month award is a distinction bestowed upon military veterans who give back to their communities. Julye served in the Navy from 2004 to 2008, serving aboard ship to support both Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) campaigns in the Global War on Terrorism.


Julye's personal and professional achievements include:

  • For her military service, she was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist Insignia, and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
  • On the home front after her military service, Julye returned to NEIU to complete her Bachelor's Degree in Social Work.
  • In the veteran community, Julye became active in the Student Veterans Club (SVC), an official chapter of the Student Veterans of America (SVA) where she advocates for and supports NEIU's student veterans. She was also instrumental in the creation and execution of numerous veteran-related programs and events including the Women Veterans Luncheon to highlight impact of women in the veteran community; the 9/11 Remembrance 5K for Families of September 11th; and the Veteran Emergency Book and Supply Program to assist students with books and supplies for college classes during the lag time as student veterans wait for GI Bill benefits.

To nominate someone for the honor please visit IDVA's website at www.veterans.illinois.gov to obtain a list of guidelines and a nomination form.

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