OCTAE Connection - Issue 217 - October 16, 2014

OCTAE Newsletter

October 16, 2014


HUD Announces $24 Million in Grants for Jobs Plus Pilot Program for Public Housing Agencies

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has published a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) of $24 million in grants for its Jobs Plus Pilot Program for public housing agencies to cultivate locally-based methods to grow incomes and employment for their residents. According to the notice, “The NOFA will fund initiatives to advance employment and earnings outcomes for Public Housing residents through supports such as work readiness, employer linkages, job placement and financial literacy.”

These grants will focus on the president’s  job-driven training checklist principals—labor market data, career pathways, work experience, access to training, and key partnerships—to ensure that public housing residents are connected to programs with the most accurate and updated job-seeker practices.

Applications are due by Dec. 17, 2014.  For more information and to apply, click here.

Veterans’ Transition to Employment

The difficulty that many veterans face in finding suitable employment after their military service has ended is a long-standing problem.  The Obama administration has taken a number of education-and employment-based measures to prepare veterans for and assist them in finding jobs.  Early administration efforts included the issuance of two executive orders. The first set a policy to “enhance recruitment of and promote employment opportunities for veterans within the executive branch.”  (The President also encouraged the private sector to make the recruitment and employment of veterans a priority.)  The second focused on “establishing principles of excellence for educational institutions serving service members, veterans, spouses, and other family members.” 

Despite these and other efforts, the Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that unemployment rates for recently returned veterans is unacceptably high, and this is especially true of younger veterans.  As reported in OCTAE Connection issue #212, this situation is exacerbated by the fact that, according to a report issued by Senator Harkin and the Democratic members of the Senate Committee on Education, Labor, and Pensions, “Is the New G.I. Bill Working?  For-Profit Colleges Increasing Veteran Enrollment and Federal Funds,” some educational institutions are serving veterans very poorly as they attempt to increase their marketable skills. 

To deal with these issues, in November 2012, former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta tasked members of the Defense Business Board with evaluating the Transition GPS program (formerly known as the Transition Assistance Program), which provides separating/retiring service members and their families with the skills necessary to successfully re-enter the civilian workforce.  Their report, offering recommendations on how the Department can help service members transition into public and/or private employment, “Employing Our Veterans Part II:  Service Member Transition,” was published in 2013. In August of that year, the departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, Labor, Education, the Office of Personnel Management, and the Small Business Administration signed a statement of intent that codified their continuing commitment to assist transitioning service members in becoming “career ready” for civilian employment.

More recently, the departments of Defense, Education, and Veterans Affairs have created the Federal Interagency Academic Credentialing for Service Members Task Force to identify, support, and share promising strategies for institutions of higher education to employ when evaluating military training and experience. This is necessary in order to award the appropriate academic credit for the skills and knowledge that service members gain through their military training and experience.  This task force is currently undertaking a number of actions to facilitate the successful transition of veterans into the economy. For additional information on these activities, please contact Isabel Soto at Isabel.Soto@ed.gov.


Grads of Life Campaign Launch

The recently launched Grads of Life is a comprehensive, multimedia, national, PSA campaign that seeks to change employers’ perceptions of “opportunity youth,” people between the ages of 16 and 24 who are neither in school nor working, from social liabilities to economic assets. Developed by a coalition of organizations, in collaboration with the Ad Council and Arnold Worldwide, the campaign encourages employers to expand their company’s hiring practices by employing opportunity youth and equips them with the information and tools to find, cultivate, and train this great pool of untapped talent.  

Join us in promoting the Grads of Life campaign to employers across the country by:

  1. Connecting with Grads of Life on twitter (@gradsoflife), and sending this tweet: “The countdown has begun. U.S. hiring practices are about to change for the better.” #buildabetterworkforce #GradsofLife
  2. Sending an e-announcement to your networks.  Download a customizable email template here.

Find out more at GradsofLife.org, and learn how to fully connect with the campaign at http://gradsoflife.org/get-involved/.

SMART Competition—Registration Reminder

Registration for the 2014 SMART Competition, as announced in the August 28 edition of OCTAE Connection, remains open until Oct. 31, 2014.  For information, visit http://www.smartcompetition.org.