Governor McAuliffe Announces Budget Proposals to Support Virginia’s Veterans
Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced a package of budget proposals that will provide nearly $13 million in services for veterans, including education and workforce programs, and improved access to health and financial supports. The initiatives are all designed to strengthen Virginia’s position as the most veteran friendly state in the nation.
“Virginia is home to nearly 800,000 veterans and their families, and we have a responsibility to honor their service and empower them to lead successful civilian lives,” said Governor McAuliffe, while speaking at Tidewater Community College. “The investments my budget will make in health care, workforce training and other key services will not only benefit veterans, it will also ensure that our Commonwealth benefits from the unique skills and training they bring to our efforts to build a new Virginia economy.”
The Governor’s veteran budget proposals include $7.8 millionto help Virginia’s veterans transition from military to civilian life through education and workforce training, $4 million to help veterans and their families access support services and $1.1 million to strengthen outreach initiatives.
- Education and Workforce
o $800,000 to create a pilot program that empowers military combat medics and corpsmen to work in health care careers while they earn civilian credentials. If approved, Virginia will be the first in the nation to create such a program.
o $687,500 over two years to add four new staffers to the Virginia Values Veterans (V3) program, which helps businesses hire veterans. So far, 13,000 veterans have been hired through the V3 program, exceeding its original goal of 11,000. Governor McAuliffe has set a new goal of 20,000 veterans hired through V3 by the end of this administration.
o $460,000 to add new staffers for the Virginia Transition Assistance Program (VTAP). This program coordinates federal, state, and local governments as well as non-profits, businesses, and educational institutions to give employment, entrepreneurship, and education training to veterans.
o $270,000 to strengthen the Virginia Military Survivors and Dependents Program (VMSDEP). This program gives education benefits to children and spouses of deceased, missing in action, prisoner of war, or 90 percent disabled service members.
o $1.1 million to place veteran advisory positions at seven community colleges with the largest number of veterans enrolled as students.
o $400,000 for George Mason University’s cybersecurity program for veterans.
o $1.2 million for a veteran’s Portal through the Virginia Community College System to strengthen outreach related to workforce credential opportunities.
- Access to Benefits and Outreach
o $940,000 to provide new staffers for new veteran benefit claims offices in Loudoun County, Prince William County, the Pentagon, and Williamsburg. Through these efforts, it is estimated that 1,600 more veterans will be reached by the end of FY2018.
o $930,000 to reduce benefits office claims employee turnover. As a result, veterans will receive better customer service when applying for benefits.
o $1.3 million to reorganize Virginia Veteran and Family Support (VVFS) offices. This program connects veterans with mental health resources and support services.
o $1.1 million to improve state agency communications and outreach efforts to veterans regarding Commonwealth opportunities in employment, education, and other resources including a 24/7 phone number that veterans and their families can access for veteran services and program information.
The Governor also has proposed a $2.43 billion bond package that includes funding to expand the Virginia War Memorial and to build two new care centers in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia.
“Governor McAuliffe’s upcoming budget will significantly advance our mission of making Virginia the best place on the globe for veterans to live, work and raise their families,” said Virginia Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs John Harvey. “By investing in key services and pathways to successful careers, we can honor the men and women who stepped forward to keep us safe and benefit from the enormous contributions they can make to our economy.”
Governor McAuliffe will unveil his full budget on December 17th.