Did you know that Houston, Texas has the second largest veteran population in the U.S.? It's true! According to U.S. Department of Defense data, Harris County (Houston) has the second largest number of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom vets in the nation. And, based on recent findings by the United Way of Greater Houston, approximately one in five of these veterans meets the criteria for depression or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In fact, 45 percent of Texas veterans are receiving disability payments due to a service connected disability. A congressional study completed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and reported in Stars and Stripes, states that veterans "face more economic and employment issues compared to their peers", and a survey by military.com found that 81 percent of returning veterans did not feel prepared to enter the civilian workforce.
With this sobering facts in mind, SER - Jobs For Progress of the Texas Gulf Coast (SER) recently announced a new initiative to serve the veterans of the Gulf Coast. In conjunction with a broad array of business and community service organizations, SER is committed to putting a dent in the persistently high veteran unemployment rate.
From its very beginning, SER has established a successful track record of serving veterans. Formed almost 50 years ago as a part of Lyndon B. Johnson's War On Poverty, SER was originally founded to support veterans, through a partnership between the American G.I. Forum, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the U. S. Department of the Navy and the U.S. Department of Labor. As a fixture in the Houston community for more than four decades, SER has grown into one of the premier employment and training providers in Houston/Harris County. SER remains committed to serving the diverse employment and training needs of residents from traditionally under-served neighborhoods.
Last year, SER served more than 10,000 Houston area residents. All of SER's programs and services are centered on four key areas: education, training, employment and empowerment. These core components are woven throughout SER's holistic service model, built upon each individual's assets and personalized to meet their unique needs. Since 2010, SER has trained more than 1,000 individuals in the rapidly expanding green energy industry, consistently achieving a 90 percent completion rate and exceeding a 70 percent job placement rate with average starting wages at $13.
SER offers a wide array of employment and training services to veterans to help make the transition to the civilian workforce. We are able to bring to bear an extensive knowledge of the Houston area labor market, significant relationships with a large number of vet-friendly employers and expansive partnerships with hundreds of social service and education organizations dedicated to serving veterans.
But, we need your help! I encourage you to go to http://www.crowdrise.com/serjobsforprogress-jr and support SER and the other Gulf Coast organizations dedicated to serving our veterans.
We remain grateful for the service and sacrifices made by our veterans and their families. For those who have already returned and are still making the difficult transition, and to the many thousands who will be returning in the next 24 months, SER salutes you and is here to help!
Written by Nory Angel, Executive Director