What is the difference between the services that OJRV provides versus the services provided by County Veterans Services Offices (CVSO) and the DAV (Disabled American Veterans) or other veterans’ programs in our areas that we serve?
There are a number of organizations dedicated to helping veterans, and each serves a specific role and meets a unique need in the military community. Here we address the differences between each of several commonly utilized services for veterans and how OJRV fills an important gap and addresses a unique community need with our services.
The County Veterans Services Officers
County Veterans Services Officers (CVSO) are employed by their specific state and can be searched for and located through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website (va.gov). CVSO are like a central hub to the veteran community in each county, and they are principally responsible for assisting veterans with disability ratings, medical care, pension issues, and discharge upgrades. If they work with a veteran who needs employment assistance, rental assistance, and/or transition assistance, they reach out to organizations like OJRV that are positioned to provide this type of support.
The Disabled American Veterans
The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) is a nonprofit organization primarily known for their Veteran Rides Program; each year they transport over 600,000 veterans to medical appointments. The DAV also provides assistance with benefit claims, and they are very involved in legislation to help veterans with various issues. They perform the same duties as CVSO but on a smaller scale. DAV has various chapters located throughout the country, but if they work with a veteran or service member who needs transition assistance and help with barriers to immediate employment such as buying work uniforms, paying rent, creating a resume, and other employment support services, they will reach out to OJRV as DAV is not equipped to provide intensive case management. They operate much like an American Legion or VFW, with monthly meetings and minimal community, business, or transitional engagement throughout a calendar year.
Other Veteran Programs
Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) is a federal program through the U.S. Department of Labor that provides Transition Assistance Advisors. These DoD contractors work directly with active military and National Guard soldiers. These positions oversee a large area. Their work with veterans is more surface level, and they cannot assist with solving rental issues or supplying work clothing for clients, nor do they host seminars like our Veteran Employment Transition Seminar (VETS) program. They simply do not have the staff capacity to offer the extensive one-on-one services that OJRV offers and are not equipped to provide trade tools or to remove barriers to immediate employment for individuals.
The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) for each state provides Local Veteran Employment Representatives (LVER) and Disabled Veteran Outreach Program Specialists (DVOPS). Both of these positions are charged with assisting veterans who may or may not have disabilities. These employment programs are to assist the veterans with their transition. To be eligible, the client has to have 181 days of federal active-duty time, and therefore if a veteran or service member has only 180 days, he or she is not eligible. Clients who are ineligible and unable to meet these specific criteria would be referred to OJRV. The DWD programs do not assist military spouses or dependents, and there is no funding for transitional issues such as rental assistance, interview clothes, work uniforms, etc. as they are state-run programs and fall under a state budget.
The OJRV Difference
We fill the gaps in the transition, employment, and post-military life that these other fully funded state and federal programs are simply unable to fill. We take a collaborative approach while maintaining a wider presence through veteran and business networking events, involvement at local colleges, and partnerships with other community organizations to ensure wraparound support for our clients.
While you will find that there are many organizations who work in the veteran employment space, there are so often stipulations and/or limitations regarding who is eligible for services under the organizations’ mission. OJRV stands by our belief that if you have worn the uniform, you have earned the right to support and assistance. Our OJRV Employment Transition Managers in each of our locations (Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin) serve veterans from all eras and branches of service.
In addition, we provide our services to military spouses, caregivers, and military dependents. We understand that while an individual takes an oath to serve, his or her whole family is impacted and sacrifices right alongside their military-connected loved one. This focus on the whole working-age military family is unique in the veteran employment space.