More than $13.5 billion in grant funding has been made available for a program designed to help homeless veterans re-enter the nation’s workforce.
The money is coming through the federal Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, and is expected to see the awarding of individual grants ranging in size from $100,000 to $500,000.
What is called the Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program is designed to not only find employment for homeless veterans, but meaningful employment.
That means, according to the official government description of the program, “open and competitive paid employment, in line with the homeless veteran’s aspirations, talents, and abilities.”
The description adds that such employment should also provide “a family sustaining wage” or “the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet his or her basic financial needs.”
The program is the only one of its kind on the national level and additionally provides placement services, job training, and counseling.
The announcement of the program’s funding comes in the wake of a Labor Department report showing that the current unemployment rate for U.S. veterans has reached its lowest point, at 3.8 percent, in nearly two decades.
That report also reveals that as of last year there were more than 19.2 million veterans in the U.S., accounting for 8 percent of the larger adult population.
The Labor Department’s homeless veterans employment initiative comes as construction industry leaders are increasingly reaching out to veterans to fill needed jobs.
Noting that roughly 250,000 people leave military service every year, the website Construction Dive reports: “As construction continues to grapple with a chronic workforce shortage, the number of new veterans alone represent enormous potential for the construction industry.”
By Garry Boulard
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