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Exploring What Works to Reduce Veteran Unemployment

The Veterans Employment Initiative Task Force travelled to San Diego to see firsthand the important work being done for veterans in that city

Last week, we shared highlights from our visit to Norfolk, Virginia. This week, as part of our continuing efforts to make sure the Veterans Employment Initiative Task Force is as effective as possible, my team and I travelled to San Diego, California. As with our visit to Norfolk, we were looking for opportunities to explore the important work being done for veterans in that city and to identify opportunities to replicate these collaborative partnerships in other parts of our nation with the ultimate goal of providing our military, veterans and their families the support that they have earned. 

On the first day of our two day trip, our team met with several groups and organizations that are doing great work across two main focus areas: Workforce Development/Transition and Mental Health/Risk Reduction. Our first stop was the Fleet and Family Support Center at the San Diego Naval Base where we spent a few hours talking with a focus group of transitioning service members under the age of 25. They shared their experiences with transition services, job seeking progress and educational opportunities that they have accessed. Hearing direct feedback enables us to accurately capture the experiences of those service members currently participating in these transition programs. We are grateful for their candor, openness, and willingness to inform the reforms that will be developed to ensure that every member of the service receives the tools necessary to successfully transition to the civilian workforce or to pursue higher education.  

We spent the remainder of the day with the local One-Stop Career Center, the Department of Veterans Affairs, Balboa Hospital, and the Veterans Village of San Diego.  At the local One-Stop Career Center, the team shared with us the integrated suite of services they provide to retired veterans to ensure that they are able to get educational and job counseling services.  We learned about the Stand Down program in San Diego from the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Stand Down is an amazing program that focuses on homeless veterans to give them direct care and services. 

We have learned so much about the great work currently underway.  Thank you to our wonderful hosts at San Diego!