Homeless veterans got some welcome news on the job front Monday.
The U.S. Department of Labor announced it will commit more than $20 million to fund job training and support services for homeless veterans. The 90 grants -- which will be awarded through the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program -- will help provide on-the-job training, job search and placement assistance and follow-up services.
“Americans who have served their country should not find themselves without a home,” Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis said in a press release. “The grants announced today will help these heroes find good jobs and take us one step closer to the goal of ending veteran homelessness altogether.”
Zeroing in on this homeless population is critical, as veterans make up a disproportionate number of people sleeping on the nation’s streets. According to the government’s first-ever veteran homelessness study, published last year, vets are 50 percent more likely to end up without a place to call home than other Americans.
And homeless vets, because of the length of time they typically spend on the streets, are also at a higher risk of contracting life-threatening diseases than other homeless people, the 100,000 Homes Campaign concluded in a study published last November.
Many returning service members say they would much prefer dedicated hands-on training programs.
"America's returning soldiers don't want handouts," writes Matthew Glynn, a HuffPost blogger and U.S. Air Force veteran.
After returning home from 14 years of active duty, Glynn immediately turned to mentors and job-search programs to secure a job.
He learned to how to translate his military experience into corporate speak from his adviser at American Corporate Partners, and he brushed up on his interviewing skills with the help of Transition Assistance Programs. Glynn's persistence paid off. The father of three was recently hired at a biotechnology company –- an opportunity he attributes to the advice, training and guidance he gathered throughout his employment search.
"We want to prove that our skills honed in the military, including leadership, perseverance, and dedication to the mission, will provide value to our employers,” Glynn wrote in a HuffPost blog. “With a little coaching, the right tools, and a good degree of hard work, we'll get there together."