In the next two years 130,000 veterans will be returning from deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. Half will be Reservists or National Guardsman and most will have served multiple deployments. They will need to be transitioned home and all will need counseling and job/career briefings and training. The unemployment statistics for returning veterans is very high between 30% and 40% with combat veterans having the toughest time readjusting and finding employment.
We can help. With strong local support, the American Legion in San Francisco will open a Veterans’ Resource Center (VRC) on August 1, 2011 at the Veterans Memorial Building to provide a facility with counseling, briefings and job/career guidance for our home bound veterans. The facility will be used by local veterans service organizations (VSO) who need a large facility like the VRC to leverage their limited resources to service many more veterans, more effectively.
Computers are also being donated to provide computers for preparing resumes and job training courses which will be provided by the VSOs. There are many VSOs in the San Francisco that will be invited to use this facility to enhance their services for our many veterans, especially our returning veterans.
Employers will be invited to hear briefings on the benefits of hiring veterans, and the American Legion and the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Committee is outreaching to local corporations to provide employment opportunities for our veterans.
In those situations where we can prevent a veteran from being homeless, each veteran we help avoid homelessness, saves the City of San Francisco $61,000 per year.
We are highly motivated to help our veterans transition back home, get proper counseling on their earned benefits, direct them to medical facilities if necessary, brief on job opportunities, and provide job/career training for all who need our help.
Special Thanks to Mr. Joseph Cantanucci, Partner, Mass Mutual for donating over $15,000 of office furniture to the American Legion to help veterans and to Mr. Craig Newmark for his extremely strong support, including financial assistance, for our VRC.
We Thank both these patriotic citizens for making the VRC possible. An anonymous donor is providing 12 computers for the VRC. We hope to get a little more financial support to add 8 more computers to this facility.
Lt Colonel Roger S. Dong, USAF (retire), is the Chairman of the American Legion War Memorial Commission.