JVS’s Groundbreaking Program Veterans First Earns Award, Grant

Jewish Vocational Service’s (JVS) Veterans First program has earned a Nonprofit Citizenship Award from the Los Angeles Business Journal (LABJ).

The award in the category of Project Collaboration recognizes a project that “encompasses involvement of multiple stakeholders in the community, engagement of the community being served and innovation in approaching a community problem or issue.”


The recognition follows a recent announcement from the State of California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) that JVS has been awarded $500,000 for Veterans First under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Veterans’ Employment-Related Assistance Program for 2011-12.

The goal of this proposal is to promote the use of industry sector strategies as the framework for addressing the need for veterans to transition into high-wage high-growth occupations. Particular emphasis is placed on the clean energy economy.


“The Employment Development Department and Jewish Vocational Service, Los Angeles, have forged a successful partnership and will continue to work together toward providing our military men and women an array of employment services and training to translate their unique experience into marketable skills in high growth occupations,” said Dennis Petrie, Deputy Director of the EDD Workforce Services Branch. “They made tremendous sacrifices for us, now we need to be ready for their steady return with opportunities for a rewarding civilian life.”

Veterans First Program Coordinator Jessica Cheng accepted the LABJ Award on June 19 at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel during a ceremony honoring L.A.-based corporations and nonprofits. More than 80 nominated organizations competed for 10 awards across nine categories. For the second consecutive year, JVS CEO Vivian Seigel was also a Finalist for Nonprofit Leadership Excellence.

Serving primarily veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns, Veterans First provides professional career coaching, job placement assistance, referrals and occupational skills retraining to eligible veterans.  

“These hard-working and dedicated men and women have proven to be exceptional employees, and the employers who have hired them have reported a universally positive experience,” Cheng said. “It gives us great satisfaction to share their achievements and, whenever possible, to bring attention to the tremendous value of employing veterans within the community.
 

The WIA funds will be divided between training and support services to help eligible veterans find careers in health care, security, green jobs and information technology (IT). Veterans First programs include the Battle Buddy Groups which gives veterans the opportunity to get together on a weekly basis, share stories and experiences and receive peer support.

This is the third time that JVS has been awarded WIA Veterans’ Employment-Related Assistance Program funds. Since its launch in June of 2010, JVS' Veterans First has enrolled 220 veterans, trained 80 and placed 110 in jobs.


“The new grant will allow us to enroll 100 more veterans,” says Cheng, “and hopefully have them gainfully employed.”