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Pittsburgh selected for Veterans Economic Communities Initiative

 


The City of Pittsburgh has been selected by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) to participate in the Veterans Economic Communities Initiative (VECI) and will be assigned an Economic Liaison to collaborate with public and private organizations that are committed to supporting veterans and their families.

The selection was formally announced at the inaugural VA Policy Academy in Orange County, CA.

One of the first activities of the VECI Economic Liaison is the launch of a Learning Hub that will feature a four-week professional writing course. The Hub will kick-off with an information session on Thursday, October 8 from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Google offices in Bakery Square. To register for the no-cost course, veterans can contact 412-944-2572 or email josh.rolon@pittsburghpa.gov.

The Economic Liaison will be an integral partner in Homefront Pittsburgh, launched earlier this month by Mayor William Peduto, to ease the transition veterans and their families face from military to civilian life. The ultimate goal of the initiative is to make Pittsburgh a city where veterans feel welcomed and can thrive.

“The greatest barriers returning veterans face are translating their skills, establishing their professional credentials, and finding quality work -- jobs that honor their service and puts their military experience to good use,” Mayor Peduto said. “By leveraging national resources to advance local goals, Pittsburgh can be a model city for transitioning veterans and military families.”

In addition to the Learning Hub, the VECI Economic Liaison will operate as a community catalyst, building networks of stakeholders within the City of Pittsburgh who are committed to creating economic stability for veterans and their families. The aim is to help streamline access to education resources and support, empowering the veterans’ community to build on their strengths and return value to the community as students, homeowners, entrepreneurs, employees, and community leaders.

Learning Hub is a pilot program which will provide certification for skills to improve employment opportunities through online and in-person instruction. The program is free for transitioning service members and includes online classes provided through Coursera and in-person meetings facilitated by the American Red Cross and hosted at Google’s office in Bakery Square.

As part of the network, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh will provide programming to better connect veterans to resources – ranging from library card sign up to discussion groups that address workforce, entrepreneurship, and small business goals and barriers. Pittsburgh’s Learning Hub will be the sixth one in the nation.

For more information on Homefront Pittsburgh contact Special Initiatives manager, Betty Cruz, betty.cruz@pittsburghpa.gov. Follow Homefront Pittsburgh on Facebook and Twitter via @HomefrontPGH or #LearningHub.

To learn more about the national VECI network and how to support its mission, contact veteranemployment.vbaco@va.gov.

 

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