Seattle, WA - March 21, 2012
For many service members, transitioning from the military back into civilian life means leaving steady employment and entering into a world of employment training, job interviews or enrollment in ongoing education. In an effort to streamline this process and create pipelines for Vets into employment opportunities American Financial Solutions Partner Development Director and SHRM Washington State Council Workforce Readiness Director, Audi Ritz presented at Senator Patty Murray’s Employment for Veterans meeting in Tacoma. Several representatives, including those from the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs, gathered to discuss employment resources and support for the anticipated 80 thousand returning troops.
According to Ms. Ritz, all parties recognize the need to have services available to help veterans successfully shift from military employment into civilian employment. “There is a considerable amount of ambitious activity from multiple sources,” says Ritz, “however it is a fragmented system which may lead to inefficiency and/or redundancy at a time when resources are scarce. In addition, being disjointed creates a complex maze for anyone to have to navigate through in order to obtain services.”
The good news is that Ritz came to the March 14 meeting with an answer to the maze. Since November, Ms. Ritz and American Financial Solutions have been spearheading a group called the Integrated Veterans Resources Program. The group started at North Seattle Community College, Opportunity Center for Education and Employment. They have created collaborate partnerships between the Vet Corp Representatives at various colleges across the state with the Society of Human Resources Workforce Readiness Directors within the same locality. “This is the key pipeline connecting the talent supply with employment demand,” stated Ritz. Other agencies are strongly encouraged to integrate their support services to ensure successful transition back into civilian living by addressing other basic life needs such as financial counseling, housing and family support services.
This is not a creation of new services but rather the integration of existing services within communities across the state. This allows veterans easy and local access to one point to find information on job training, employment with local employers, education and other support services relative to veterans and their dependents. The collaboration of the Vet Corp and the SHRM Workforce Readiness Directors has taken off with 11 new Integrated Vet Programs developed in the last two months across colleges within Washington.
American Financial Solutions has been a strong supporter of the military since their inception. They and their partners have been working on this integration project because, as Ms. Ritz says, “We are proud of our Veterans and recognize their sacrifice. We also appreciate their skills, knowledge and abilities and recognize they bring talent into our organizations. Ultimately our goal is to pave a smooth transition into civilian life and employment.”
American Financial Solutions (AFS) is a non-profit 501(c)3 financial education and credit counseling agency that helps people find solutions for managing their money and improving their financial lives. Since 1999, AFS has helped individuals across the United States through one-on-one counseling, classes and the use of debt management plans. AFS is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) as well as the Association for Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies (AICCCA). AFS is also accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) and has an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau.