Gov. Dannel Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman stopped in Farmington Friday morning to announce the newest tools in the state’s fight to help Connecticut veterans find jobs and the help they need upon returning home.
“We expect about 7,000 veterans to return home to Connecticut in the next two years,” Wyman said. “We owe it to them to be ready to help them transition back to civilian life.”
Malloy chose the Veterans’ Oasis Center at Tunxis Community College as the backdrop for his announcement, which included the creation of a new cabinet, the Governor’s Veterans Cabinet. The cabinet will be co-chaired by Malloy and Wyman and will include the commissioners of several state departments, the National Guard and the Board of Regents. The cabinet will aim to improve delivery of services to Connecticut veterans and to solicit input from veterans and veteran groups.
Representatives from each explained how their department would contribute to getting veterans on the right path – from Connecticut’s state and community colleges supporting veterans in school to the Department of Motor Vehicles extending deadlines and waiving fees and the Department of Administrative Services mandating that each veteran who applies for a state job is granted an interview.
“We are specifically concerned for our veterans who are suffering under higher unemployment than is tolerable,” Malloy said. “And we know a number of our most recent returning veterans are opting to use their educational programs but aren’t finding the level of success to lead to degrees and are feeling overwhelmed at the outset of their educational experience. We want to make sure veterans are getting every possible assistance in these settings.”
And not just in educational settings.
In addition, Malloy and Wyman announced the launch of a new state website, veterans.ct.gov, which Malloy called “one-stop shopping for veterans’ services.”
“The website is a very concrete way we can help veterans connect to the many wonderful services that are available to them but not so easy to find,” Wyman said.
The site, which is also linked to from each of the state’s other websites, offers a gateway to and explanation for all state and federal veterans programs. Malloy said the state offers 27 different assistance programs.
“The purpose is to make it as easy as possible for them to understand all that is offered to our veterans,” Malloy said.
Linda Schwartz, commissioner of the state Department of Veterans Services, hailed the efforts as a creative approach to tackling the gap between veterans’ needs and services received.
“The biggest problem our veterans have is finding the right path to the help they need,” she said.