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US DOL, Pilot States and ITSC Work to Connect UI Claimants to the Workforce System

In June 2012, Information Technology Support Center (ITSC) Assistant Technology Director Tom Kusnirik spoke to national experts from the private sector as well as key federal and state officials, at the Unemployment and Worker's Compensation (UWC) Conference in Denver, CO, on "Making the Vision Real: Connecting UI Claimants to the Workforce System."  The U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and ITSC have been working closely with state and local Unemployment Insurance (UI) and workforce partners over the last several months to develop and implement a plan for improving the connection, both electronically and programmatically, of UI claimants to the workforce system. 

This project is part of ETA's national vision for service UI claimants as a key customer of the workforce investment system.  Through a national solicitation, New York, Mississippi, Oregon, Minnesota, and Idaho were awarded over $7.5 million in grants to support implementation of the national vision.  For more information on this effort, click here. Named One of Best in Government

"Governments are complicated. Benefits are complicated," the Social Driver website blog observes. Fortunately, the blog adds, " is not complicated." Social Driver recognized the website as one of the five best government websites "that just work." provides access to important information about government benefits and allows the public to search assistance programs that fit their needs. The website is the product of a collaborative partnership of 17 federal agencies, with the U. S. Department of Labor as the managing partner. This year, is celebrating its tenth anniversary.

Service Delivery Tip:  American Job Center staff may consider using the Web site with its customers as an enhanced core service.  Leave a comment and share your strategies for integrating the use of with your customers!


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Operation Boots to Business to Train Transitioning Vets

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has launched a new program in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Defense Department to train transitioning servicemembers and veterans to help them become entrepreneurs and create jobs.

The national initiative, called Operation Boots to Business: From Service to Startup, will be piloted first with the U.S. Marine Corps in four locations, at Quantico, VA.; Cherry Point, NC; Camp Pendleton, CA.; and Twenty-Nine Palms, CA. It will later be expanded nationwide during fiscal year 2013 to service members from all military branches.

"Our service men and women have made incalculable contributions and sacrifices for our country, and supporting them as they pursue their dreams to start or grow their own business is one of our highest priorities," SBA Administrator Karen Mills said in a news release.

Each year, more than 250,000 servicemembers shift from the military to civilian life, and veterans often possess the skills, experience and leadership to start businesses, SBA noted in a news release.

In fact, 9 percent of small businesses are already owned by veterans, with the 2.45 million veteran-owned businesses employing more than 5 million individuals. And veterans are more likely to be self-employed than those without military experience, SBA said.

Under the program, SBA will coordinate training and services at military bases nationwide through a face-to-face introductory entrepreneurship course. It will also provide comprehensive training materials geared to transitioning service members through a partnership with Syracuse University's Institute for Veterans and Military Families.

The U.S. Department of Labor has also launched several initiative to help veterans get back to work.  For more information, please go to

US Labor Department awards over $20 million in grants to help homeless veterans

On July 2, Tthe U.S. Department of Labor awarded 90 grants totaling more than $20 million to fund job training and support services that will help more than 11,000 veterans succeed in civilian careers. The grants are being awarded through the department’s Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program. 
“Americans who have served their country should not find themselves without a home,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “The grants announced today will help these heroes find good jobs and take us one step closer to the goal of ending veteran homelessness altogether.”

The grants announced are second- and third-year awards to state and local workforce investment boards, local public agencies and nonprofit organizations – including faith-based and community organizations – that demonstrated satisfactory performance during the past year. All 90 grants are awarded through the HVRP program, with some of the grants specifically set aside to serve formerly incarcerated veterans, and homeless female veterans and veterans with families. The grant recipients are familiar with the areas and populations they are serving.

Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program grants provide occupational, classroom and on-the-job training, as well as job search and placement assistance, including follow-up services. Grantees are expected to maximize available assistance and find good jobs for veterans by coordinating efforts and resources with the U.S. departments of Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development, and Health and Human Services, as well as other national, state and local agencies in accordance with the VA’s five-year plan to end homelessness for veterans and their families.

In June, Secretary Solis announced the award of 64 grants through the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program. Those grants – which are separate from the 90 receiving funds today – are first-year awards totaling more than $15 million and aimed at providing about 8,600 homeless veterans nationwide with job training.

More information on the Department of Labor’s unemployment and re-employment programs for veterans can be found at