7 National, State, and Local Resources that Give Back
Getting involved in your local Veteran community can create many opportunities for you and your company, and also offers a way to show support for the men and women who volunteer to protect our country. With many national, state, and local programs, it can be challenging to determine what type of support or involvement best aligns with your organization’s mission. Below is an overview of seven programs and resources that may support the Veteran Community in your area.
United Service Organization (USO)
For nearly 75 years, the USO has provided support for military members and their families. With over 180 worldwide centers, the non-profit organization specializes in programs designed to help service members in all aspects of their lives. One of their most popular programs for transitioning military members is Hire Heroes USA, which provides virtual coaching, transition assistance workshops and a job board where members can post resumes and apply for jobs with companies hiring Veterans. With so many USO offices across the country, they are best suited to provide unique and tailored support to address the concerns of local Veterans.
Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves (ESRG)
The ESRG was established in 1972 by the Department of Defense (DoD) in order to “promote cooperation and understanding between Reserve Component Service members and their civilian employers.” With offices in all 50 states, the ESRG and its volunteers are dedicated to helping Guard and Reserve members and employers work together. The ESRG offers several employer focused programs, education events, and job fairs throughout the year.
The ESRG also partners with its DoD sister program, the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program. They hold local events connecting service members and their families with resources focusing on the individual’s well being before, during and after they are called to serve. Both state and local offices include Employment Coordinators who help Veterans, Guard, and Reserve members find employment once they return from deployment.
The ESRG also works with the Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service. This program has over 2,400 American Job Centers that provide assistance to employers and Veterans seeking job opportunities.
Local Military and Veteran Affairs Offices
Your local Military and Veteran Affairs office is an excellent resource for connecting to the military and Veteran community on a local level. Often located within your city or county government, many have special programs and events focused on paring employers with Veterans seeking jobs. Depending on the area, some local offices also allow employers to register their company in a directory of local businesses that support Veterans seeking employment. These offices also support other training and recognition events for Veterans, including resume writing workshops, financial planning support, and holiday parades.
Veteran Non-Profit Organizations and Charities
Veteran non-profit organizations and charities also exist to help Veterans and their communities. While each of these organizations may focus on a specific area of need or interest, these programs are always looking for partners and volunteers to further expand their reach and level of support. Getting involved with national or local non-profits can be an excellent opportunity to connect with your local Veteran community and give back to your community.
The Navy League
The Navy League is foremost a citizen-based organization dedicated to supporting the sea services: US Navy, US Coast Guard, US Marine Corps and US-flag Merchant Marines. They have “three main missions: to enhance the morale of active-duty personnel and their families; inform Congress and the American public on the importance of strong sea services; and to support youth through programs such as the Naval Sea Cadet Corps, Junior ROTC and Young Marines that expose young people to the values of our sea services.” With more than 240 councils located across the globe, the Navy League sponsors many community events that connect their members with a variety of sea service personnel.
The American Legion is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization striving to help Veterans on a local level. They have hundreds of programs and activities focused on strengthening communities, and have over 2.4 million members in their 14,000 worldwide posts. American Legion relies heavily on active membership, participation from the community and volunteers. They hold several career fairs geared toward hiring Veterans.
Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)
The VFW is one of the oldest Veteran-friendly institutions, dating back to the American-Spanish War (1898). VFW members have logged over 8.6 million hours of volunteer service within local communities. They also have a long-standing tradition of helping Veterans and their families by advocating for their rights, and have been an instrumental voice in passing legislature for the GI Bill and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).