Last week, the Veterans Economic Communities Initiative (VECI) team added Phoenix, AZ to our list of partner communities. Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton hosted the launch event along with leaders from the Arizona Department of Veterans Services, the Arizona Coalition for Military Families, the local VA Regional Office and Medical Center, and representatives from area businesses nonprofits and faith communities.
Caption: Christine Gannon, Economic Liaison in Phoenix, takes the podium as Mayor Greg Stanton (right), and Director of the Arizona Department of Veterans Services Wanda Wright (second-to-right) look on.
VECI puts Secretary McDonald’s MyVA vision into action by bringing federal, state and local government together with leaders from local businesses and service organizations to expand our reach and collaboration where Veterans live. We are working city by city, through Economic Liaisons with deep ties to each community, to convene local leaders and organizations so they make the long-term success of local Veterans a top priority.
I’m so encouraged to see leaders like those in Phoenix coming together to better support, equip and empower Veterans and their families. And I’m excited for what’s to come in Phoenix as our Economic Liaison begins working in the area to:
- Develop ongoing public-private partnerships focused on employment and economic opportunities;
- Foster employer networking and encourage hiring commitments on the Veterans Employment Center™ (ebenefits.va.gov/jobs);
- Support events such as career fairs, job and employment summits, and roundtables to boost economic competitiveness for Veterans;
- Share best practices, and train and support employers who are considering hiring Veterans; and
- Facilitate the development of learning or resource hubs to help connect Veterans to economic opportunities including entrepreneurship, credentialing and skills building.
VECI will be launching in 25 cities this summer – and another 25 in 2016 – ever since Secretary McDonald kicked-off the campaign in Dallas on May 18. Our goal is to help Veterans and their families find meaningful careers that lead to long-term economic success. This isn’t just good for Veterans – it’s good for businesses, it’s good for communities, and it’s good for America.
If you live in one of the first 25 VECI communities and you are interested in working with the campaign, email us at OEO.VBACO@VA.GOV. We’d love to get you connected and involved.
Rosye Cloud is VA’s Senior Advisor for Veteran Employment, and Acting Director of the Office of Transition, Employment, and Economic Impact