Illinois Dept. of Veterans' Affairs Newsletter            October 2013

News for Illinois 

Veteran-Owned Businesses


Through the Veterans Business Program (VBP), Illinois agencies and public universities are encouraged to spend at least 3% of their procurement budgets with certified Veteran-owned businesses.  This equates to $300 million in state contracts - a huge opportunity for veteran business owners in Illinois!  


If you are a veteran business owner, click here for more information on how to certify in Illinois and start capitalizing on this opportunity.


In partnership with other state agencies, IDVA is working to grow the pool of eligible veteran-owned businesses, so that agency procurement officers can begin providing preference to veteran-owned businesses while still ensuring competitive bidding.   To encourage veteran business owners to certify and bring other resources to bear, we have hosted "Mission: Veteran 2 Entrepreneur" seminars, directly mailed nearly 1,000 businesses, and worked with various chambers of commerce and business organizations to get the word out.  To join our mailing list for veteran-owned businesses mailings and updates, please call 312-814-1660 or visit the Veterans Business Program page.


Illinois businesses with annual gross sales under $75 million that are 51% owned by one or more qualified service-disabled veterans or qualified veterans living in Illinois are eligible for these programs.  

New Program to Help Certify Vets for In-Demand Jobs 

Illinois is one of six states recently selected by the National Governors Association (NGA) for a special program to help those leaving military service attain certification for in-demand civilian careers.   The Veterans' Licensing and Certification Demonstration Policy Academy, formed by the NGA, will help selected Illinois create clear pathways for veterans to obtain state-level credentials for certain law enforcement and health care careers.


Illinois' selection by the NGA is a reflection of the strong momentum that Governor Quinn's administration has built on this front, with a broad inter-agency effort to conduct "gap assessments" of various military training courses already well underway.  To learn more about this broader effort, please visit.


The NGA selected the states of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, Virginia and Wisconsin to participate in the Academy. The Illinois Policy Academy team will work to stand up "Veteran Bridge Programs" for military medics to earn Licensed Practical Nurse and Emergency Medical Technician licenses and for military police to join civilian police forces. 

 Get Skills to Work - First in Illinois!

On Wednesday, Oct. 16 Governor Quinn, GE Transportation President and CEO Russell Stokes, Illinois Manufacturers' Association President and CEO Greg Baise, Harper College President Dr. Kenneth Ender and actor Gary Sinise to announce a first-of-its-kind partnership between the state of Illinois, manufacturers and community colleges to train veterans for in-demand careers.

The Get Skills to Work (GSTW) coalition, a collaborative program from GE, is a new statewide veterans' skills partnership between Illinois, the Illinois Manufacturers' Association and participating community colleges that will locate employers who want to hire returning veterans and provide the training necessary for those jobs.  This is part of the Governor's commitment to our veterans.


Illinois is the first state in the nation to join GE's Get Skills to Work coalition as a partner. This coalition brings industry, education, and the Illinois Departments of Veterans Affairs (IDVA) and Employment Security (IDES) together to support veterans to transition into advanced manufacturing jobs. It focuses on providing training and certification in advanced manufacturing to returning veterans, in partnership with local community colleges and employers who will commit to hiring these trained veterans. The goal is to bring together existing training efforts and spark new action in order to make a significant impact.


For more information on the Get Skills to Work coalition, visit GE's Get Skills to Work.


Veteran of the Month

 September 2013 Veteran of the Month brings an amazing tale of service, starting as a young Marine in Vietnam, to a full circle nearly 40 years later.  As a veteran leader, he gives a great deal back to his Illinois community, school and youth.
Dr. Michael LaRocco was honored at an event on Thursday, Sept. 19 at the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Stempien Post 8821 in Chicago.  IDVA Director Erica Borggren was on hand to present the award on behalf of Governor Quinn, along with Edward M. Burke, Alderman of Chicago's 14th Ward, who offered his congratulations to Dr. LaRocco as well.


Dr. LaRocco, the former Dean of the College of Business and Health Administration at the University of St. Francis (USF) in Joliet, also served the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars in leadership positions.  He helped organize and ran in the 1985 Chicago to Springfield POW-MIA run and served on organizing committee for Chicago's 1986 Vietnam Veteran Parade, as well as on the 2011 Chicago Vietnam 25th Parade Reunion Committee in Chicago. He resides in Chicago, Cook County, IL and was nominated by Bruce A. Foote, a U.S. Army veteran and Executive Director of Financial Aid Services, USF.


The Illinois Veteran of the Month Award is presented to veterans who continue to serve their communities after leaving the military and make a real difference in the lives of others. To nominate a veteran for consideration, please visit.

Blue Island, Illinois - The fifth annual Veterans Day Parade starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 9. 

St. Louis, Missouri - St. Louis Veterans Day Regional Site,  
Oak Hill Cemetery, City of Evansville Veterans Day Regional Site, Monday, Nov. 11, 1 p.m.  
Get (Better) Connected! 


Our newsletter comes out only once every month, so how do you get up-to-date news and information about events, hiring fairs, veterans' issues, opportunities?  Join us on social media and keep in touch:

Join the vibrant and rapidly growing Facebook communities on Illinois Women Veterans or our FB homepage, Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs.  
Or, if you like getting things in short, 140-character bursts there's always the IDVA's Twitter feed. Our Facebook feed is set to cross-walk important posts, so subscribers can get all, some or a little of the information they need.  

 Of course you can always call us with questions or challenges. 800-437-9824 

Your IDVA Calendar  


Oct. 24     RecruitMilitary Veteran Job Fair - Chicago, IL


Oct. 26     Northern Illinois Conf. for Women Veterans - Veterans Memorial Hall, Rockford, IL


Oct. 28     National Career Fair Schaumburg, IL


 National Career Fair - St. Louis, MO


Oct. 31     Halloween!  Boo!


 Veteran Business Enterprise Conf. - Waubonsee Community College, Aurora, IL


Nov. 6      Southwestern Illinois College Veterans Job Fair - Belleville, IL


Nov. 9      Veterans' Day - National/Regional event  - Blue Island, IL  


Nov. 11    Veterans Day Chicago Soldier Field, 11 a.m., Chicago, IL



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