ACMF Director Thomas Winkel Testifies Before the U.S. House of Representatives

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It was my distinct honor to be invited to testify in a hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity on May 26, 2021. The hearing was focused on the impact of COVID-19 on veteran employment. 

Chairman Mike Levin opened the hearing with an overview of the great strides that were being made across the nation to reduce veteran unemployment before the pandemic struck. With the goal of getting as many resources as possible to veterans and their families to ease the difficulties presented by the effects of COVID-19, Chairman Levin invited testimony from a panel, representing programs and efforts across the country, including the Arizona Coalition for Military Families and the Be Connected program. 

I explained how we tackle this problem the Arizona Way, through a collaborative, public/private partnership that reaches across all levels of government and the community. Through the Arizona Coalition for Military Families and the Be Connected program, we are making a difference. Since this hearing was specifically focused on how we address the unique challenges faced by the veteran workforce in today’s labor market, I focused my remarks on our Be Connected Career Navigation program that provides one-on-one coaching to help veterans translate the experience and abilities they gained through military service into the skills sought after by civilian employers. 

But that is only half of the equation. We also work with Arizona Veteran Supportive Employers and Arizona Veteran Supportive Campuses to cultivate meaningful employment and higher education opportunities that elevate veterans earning potential and value in Arizona’s workforce. Our approach leads to the best possible outcomes for the veteran. Our team works to address any issues and barriers that might prevent career placement or  progression – such as a lack of a professional certification or even a lack of a business suit. We work in the best interest of veterans to reduce the prevalence of  underemployment by focusing on both quality and quantity of placements. 

If you’d like to view a replay of the hearing, visit http://bit.ly/0526Video and find the witness list, testimony and all of the exhibits that were submitted as part of the record to show the nation just how the Arizona Coalition for Military families and our numerous partners are making a difference for Arizona veterans, visit http://bit.ly/0526Testimony.

For more information on the programs and employment services offered to Arizona service members, veterans and their families through the Arizona Coalition for Military Families’ Be Connected program, call 866-4AZ-VETS (866-429-8387).   

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Be Connected and ConnectVeterans.org are provided in partnership by:

Special thanks to the Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family for their partnership and support.

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