Cash Prize to Benefit Two Local Veteran Organizations
The $27,456.40 award will be shared by two local veteran organizations: the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)/Spriggs-Wing Post 5451 and Disabled American Veterans (DAV)/Chapter 31, both headquartered in Urbana.
“Our service to veterans is a team effort,” says Ron Orr, who works out of the OMJCC office as disabled veterans outreach specialist for the ODJFS Office of Workforce Development. Orr, who served 23 years in the Ohio Air National Guard and U.S. Air Force, nominated OMJCC for the award and designated the VFW and DAV to receive the cash prize. He helps veterans in Champaign, Logan and Union counties.
Priority Service for Veterans
Through the Jobs for Veterans State Grant Program, OMJCC—a service of the Champaign County Department of Job and Family Services—provides priority service to veterans. New clients are asked from the start whether they served in the military so OMJCC can offer them services they’re entitled to as veterans. Each veteran completes a questionnaire to help determine their needs and status (for instance, if they’re disabled, a Vietnam era vet, have low income, or need education assistance).
“We help all veterans who come through our door,” Orr said.
Veterans and other clients have access to OMJCC’s state-of-the-art resource room, which is equipped with seven computer stations where they can search for jobs, develop resumes, find training programs and improve interviewing skills—all with staff assistance, as needed.
Andrea Mitchell, OMJCC employer services representative, provides veterans’ resumes to employers first. She builds and maintains relationships with local businesses to help match their needs with the skills of veterans and other job seekers.
Orr says, “Andrea assists all qualified veterans through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) program and has had many successes in helping veterans with sustained employment and training opportunities in the Champaign County area.” WIOA helps people, including veterans, access employment, education, training and support services and helps match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy.
Personalized Service for Veterans
“We provide veterans very personalized service to meet their specific needs,” says Amy Sherman, OMJCC workforce supervisor. “We talk with them about barriers they have to employment, so we can make the connections to help them achieve success in the workforce.”
OMJCC partners with a network of community services to help veterans and their families address issues such as transportation, health care, medical disability, food insecurity, homelessness, or workforce reentry following prison. These partners include Champaign County Veterans Services, the VFW, DAV, CCDJFS, the Dayton Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Caring Kitchen, Champaign Transit and the Bridges Community Action Partnership.
“It’s the whole community working together for our veterans,” Orr says.
Stacy Cox, CCDJFS director, says, “Each member of the OhioMeansJobs team plays a part in serving each veteran. Other members of the team include Beth McFann, eligibility referral services II; Alyssa Theodor, eligibility referral services I; and Lindsey Guidera, social services worker I.
The Benefits of Hiring Veterans
“Veterans bring a unique set of soft skills to employers – a work ethic second to none,” Orr says. “They come to work on time, are committed to work, and have skills in leadership that they bring to their communities and employers. It’s a big help to employers when they don’t have to deal with attendance and performance issues.”
Veterans also bring to the job specialized skills gained in their military service. Orr and the OMJCC team help veterans translate their military-gained skills and credentials to skills that local employers are looking for.
In accepting the cash award from OMJCC, Fred Williams, quartermaster of VFW Post 5451 and adjutant for DAV Chapter 31, said, “This award is a real blessing for the veterans we serve. We help local veterans any way we can, and this may help us restart our food bank.” He added that the VFW and DAV provide meals for veterans in need, provide an honor guard for veterans’ funerals and donate use of the VFW/DAV headquarters banquet hall for celebrations of life.
For more information, contact OMJCC at 937-484-1581. OMJCC is located in Suite J100 of the Champaign County Community Center, 1512 U.S. 68, Urbana. The office is open 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.