Author Archives: Fred Wellman

Veterans Roundup: Manufacturing for Troops, Jobs for Troops

VA Private Referrals on Rise
Adrian Sainz, The Associated Press. Until the VA can get its systems up to capacity, it’s sending an increasing number of veterans to private doctors. Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald said that the VA would need about 1,000 new doctors, nurses, and clerks at the Phoenix hospital alone to improve the VA’s capacity. The $16.3 billion VA bill signed by President Obama last week dedicates $10 billion to subsidize the cost of private doctors and $5 billion to hire new VA health care professionals. McDonald is making gains in other aspects of the VA as well, this week he works to…

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Veterans Roundup: Short-term VA Fix Could Become Long-Term Mess, Back to the Future: Iraq

Disability Payments to Veterans More than Doubled Since 2000
Erica E. Phillips (@eephillips_wsj), The Wall Street Journal. On Thursday, the Congressional Budget Office released a report about the VA’s disability payments since 2000. Payments have increased from $20 billion in 2000 to $54 billion in 2013. Although the report attributes the payment increases to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the number of Vietnam-era veterans receiving benefits has increased by 60% since 2000 as well. The increase also raises concerns that some veterans are faking or exaggerating PTSD symptoms to receive benefits. Because PTSD is hard to define, and diagnosis depends on personal testimony from veterans, it has become…

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Veterans Roundup: Congress Gives the VA A Big Makeover, Yes Montel People Do Care About Homeless Veterans

Video – The New Battleground: Veterans
Defense One Staff (@DefenseOne). Fred spoke on the “Hiring Veterans: Deployed then Unemployed” panel at the Defense One and IAVA New Battleground: Veterans conference last Wednesday. Dr. Mike Haynie, Executive Director of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families and Vice Chancellor at Syracuse University; Barbara Humpton, Senior Vice President of Business Development at Siemens Government Technologies; Brian Jones, Editor in Chief of Task & Purpose, joined Fred in a discussion about how veterans should seek out jobs that fit their skills or use their GI Bill to learn new skills and how veterans need to stop embracing the stereotypes surrounding unemployment. Check out…

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Veterans Roundup: VA Secretary Nominee Gets His Day in the Senate, Congress Reaches VA Reform Deal

Taking a Cue from Forrest Gump to Help Veterans
Gary Sinise (@garysinise), Huffington Post. Get Skills to Work spokesman Gary Sinise wrote for the Huffington Post about how manufacturing has changed drastically in recent years into an advanced, high-tech field. Veterans, with their experience working with high- and low-tech equipment, are well positioned to secure jobs in manufacturing after their service. Sinise has been supporting veterans for more than thirty years and sees veterans as a national resource. Get Skills to Work, a coalition of companies and colleges dedicated to helping veterans train for and land high-paying manufacturing jobs, is a way to leverage veterans’ skills and experience to revitalize…

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Veterans Roundup: VA Scandal Widens to Include VBA, VA Secretary Nominee to Appear Before the Senate

Study: Indirect Link Between Combat and Suicide Risk
Gregg Zoroya (@greggzoroya), USA Today. The increasing rate of veteran suicide in recent years, from 18 per day in 2007 to 22 per day in 2013, was examined in a paper published last Thursday. Despite rising numbers, no specific cause can be reported with absolute certainty for military suicides. However, the report does note that along with military suicides, the number of reported mental health problems in the military have surged. Periods of transition like returning from combat, leaving the military, or growing old are times when veterans with mental health problems are most vulnerable to suicidal thoughts, the study reports. –MC

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