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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

VETS News Release: [10/28/2010]
Contact Name: Jeannine Lupton or Michael Shimizu
Phone Number: (206) 553-7620 or x7620
Release Number: 10-1502-SEA

US Labor Department partnering with Washington state government to launch rural veterans outreach pilot

SEATTLE —The U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service this week launched a pilot program in Washington state that will provide veterans in rural areas with better access to employment programs and services.  VETS will utilize partnerships with state and local organizations to contact rural veterans by telephone, mail and in person to determine employment services for which they are eligible.

“Veterans in rural areas are an underserved population, and we want to ensure they’re aware of, and have access to, the employment programs and services available to them.  This is an integral part of helping them obtain meaningful careers,” said Assistant Secretary for VETS Ray Jefferson.  “Access to federal, state and local government resources can be limited in rural areas, so government must be more proactive in reaching out to serve this population of veterans.” 

The Labor Department has enlisted the state of Washington’s Employment Security Department, Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Military Department, along with other organizations to ensure the success of the program.  VETS identified approximately 21 counties in Washington state to include in the pilot, with about 40,000 rural veterans identified in this area.  Of this population, 12,500 have not been in contact with employment services in the last five years.  This pilot will focus outreach on those veterans.

The department is developing a national initiative that will allow the Department of Labor and states to greatly improve outreach to rural veterans and provide them better access to employment programs, services and information to help rural veterans attain meaningful careers.