As we prepare to honor our Veterans this weekend, the Illinois Department of Employment Security would like to remind them of the many services offered to them through the state’s agencies. These services are divided into the two primary categories: Employment Services and Veterans Benefits.
All Veterans are eligible to receive employment assistance at any of the American Job Centers (better known as the Unemployment Office), regardless of characterization of discharge or length of service. AJC’s are a great place to find and participate in employment focused workshops and local hiring events. Each AJC has Employment Specialists, Wagner-Peyser staff, and other partners onsite to provide employment services and possible training opportunities. More details about available jobs and services are available online at www.IllinoisJobLink.com.
The U.S. Department of Labor Veterans Employment and Training Services division oversees the Jobs State Veterans Grant funds to the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). These funds provide employment assistance through Disabled Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP) specialists and Local Veterans Employment Representatives (LVER). Both the DVOP and LVER receive federally mandated training at the National Veterans Training Institute.
Veterans with a better than Dishonorable Discharge on the DD Form 214/215, who served at least 180 days on active duty and attest to at least one of the following Significant Barriers to Employment below, are eligible for specialized individual career readiness services from the DVOP specialist:
• Receiving compensation for a VA Disability Rating or discharged for a service-connected disability
• Lack a High School Diploma or GED
• Recently separated from the military within the last three-years and Unemployed for 27 weeks or more
• an Ex-Offender
• meet the Federal Low Income Requirements
DVOP specialists will assist eligible Veterans in mitigating their Significant Barriers to Employment by developing an Individual Employment Plan with them. When the Veteran becomes job-ready, the DVOP specialist, in partnership with the LVER, will develop a job opportunity within the Veteran’s selected career field.
LVER encourage businesses to hire Veterans by marketing the valuable skills Veterans bring to enhance their bottom line. In coordination with the Business Community, LVER’s help setup Hiring Events designed to Recruit & Hire Veterans that can range from targeting one job opening to major size with 100+ employers.
Every employer / business attending an IDES sponsored or co-sponsored Hiring Event must have jobs that are currently open and need to be filled on the day of the Hiring Event.
The State of Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs is committed to making sure that their military heroes and families receive the benefits they rightfully deserve when they return home. Those who need assistance are encouraged to visit any Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA) office. In many instances, the IDVA Office is located within an AJC and face-to-face meetings with Veterans Service Officers are available.
In addition to the federal benefits, Illinois has a number of benefits that veterans and family members can take advantage of, including compensation, education, burial, employment, real estate, and permits.
The IDVA also has the following programs that promote and assist Illinois Veterans:
• Illinois Joining Forces
• Illinois Warrior Assistance Program
• Military Records
• Veteran Entrepreneurs
• Veterans Assistance Fund
• Veterans Cash
• Veterans Homes
• Veteran and Business Appreciation Award
Veterans’ Assistance Commissions, known as VAC’s, are also available in each Illinois County. These VAC’s offer services to honorably discharged veterans, their widows and dependents. Services vary by county but may include VA Claim assistance, transportation assistance, county veteran’s assistance, and emergency assistance.
Veterans Service Organizations are another very valuable resource that Veterans should connect with. Examples of these organizations are American Legions, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Veterans, Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed American Veterans, and others. These organizations often have National Service Officers that can assist Veterans with filing VA Disability Compensation Claims and rekindling that military comradery and “Esprit de Corps.”
Veterans can get more details about the services that are available to them on the following websites:
• Illinois Department of Employment Security: www.ides.illinois.gov
• Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs: www.illinois.gov/veterans
• Illinois Association of County Veterans Assistance Commissions: www.iacvac.org
• List of Statewide Veterans Organizations: www.illinois.gov/veterans/features/Pages/Statewide-Veteran-Organizations.aspx