Veterans' Employment Services in Michigan: September 2023 Newsletter

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Veterans' Employment Services graphic, Priority of Service for Military Veterans, logos of U.S. military branches

September 2023

Veterans' Employment Services Newsletter


VES staff member honored to receive a Quilt of Valor

Durand Dean receiving the Quilt of Valor

Lapeer-based Veterans’ Career Advisor Durand Dean was recently nominated for and received a Quilt of Valor from a member of the Strength in Numbers program. Durand was recognized for his military combat service, active involvement and volunteer contributions within the Mid-Michigan Veteran’s Coalition and the Strength in Numbers program, and his unwavering dedication to serving local veterans.

A Quilt of Valor is a meticulously crafted, handmade quilt that is presented to service members or veterans who have been directly affected by the experience of war. The Quilt of Valor conveys a heartfelt message of gratitude for their service and the sacrifices made in defense of our nation.

The Quilt of Valor must adhere to specific size requirements, include a label with mandated information, be presented as an award, and be officially documented.

Strength in Numbers is a non-profit organization responsible for initiating and organizing the Mid-Michigan Coalition. They provide essential resources such as food, pantry items, household goods, gas cards, and furniture to veterans facing hardships. These items are generously donated by various entities and are offered free of charge to veterans and their families.

Congratulations, Durand!

$3.5M Tiny Homes Village project in Flint, courtesy of Catholic Charities

Example of a tiny home being built in Flint

Local Veterans Employment Representative Fred Pitman and Veterans' Career Advisor Rayetta Wyatt attended the announcement of a new tiny homes project aimed at aiding and supporting homeless veterans in Flint.

On Sept. 21, Catholic Charities of Shiawassee & Genesee Counties announced the homes will be located at 719 E. Moore St. in Flint at a news conference that featured two single model homes.

Grant money from the Clara Lionel Foundation, founded by pop singer Rihanna, to fund groundbreaking education and emergency preparedness and response programs around the world, was used to build the homes.

The new homes, named the Catholic Charities Sacred Heart Village, plan to serve as a model for programming that can be replicated in the future as a way to address the homelessness crisis. 

The each of the 24 homes along with a Community Resource Center will be able to accommodate two people. The Village is set to break ground in the summer of 2024.

Read more about the project here

Join the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Opportunity on Oct. 7 to clean veteran gravesites

Overhead view of a person cleaning gravesites

The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity  is collaborating once again with the Michigan VA Home in Grand Rapids for a second round of gravesite cleanups on Saturday, October 7.

Volunteers will need to bring a five gallon bucket and a stiff scrub brush and meet at 3000 Monroe Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505. The event will take place from 9 a.m. to noon and is a small way to honor the final resting place of those who sacrificed for our freedoms. 

The Grand Rapids Home for Veterans is not only an assisted living facility for veterans, but also the final resting place to over 5,000 service members, all of whom resided at the Home at one point dating back to 1886. Maintenance of this cemetery is heavily supported by volunteers from the community. 

View more details here

State of Michigan partners with VA to provide voter registration assistance to veterans

Voting booths

On National Voter Registration Day, the VA and Michigan Secretary of State announced an agreement to designate the Saginaw VA Medical Center, the Detroit VA Medical Center and the Detroit Regional Office as voter registration sites.

This agreement will empower the VA to provide voter registration information and assistance to veterans and eligible dependents at these three facilities.

To learn more about how to register and vote in Michigan, go to For more information about VA's efforts to provide voter registration assistance to veterans, go to

Find resources faster with new State of Michigan search tool search example with Vet typed in

All websites now use improved search features to make finding information faster and easier! 

  • Auto-suggested Results – the new search fills in suggestions as you type to help you find what you’re looking for with fewer keystrokes.
  • Search Across Multiple Sites – you will be able to choose to search the site you are on or search across all sites at once.
  • Filter Your Results – results display a variety of filters that you can use to narrow your possible results. Filter by categories like document type, site, and file type. Additional filters are available within these categories to refine your results even further.
  • Improved Mobile Experience – you will have an improved experience when using your phone to tablet to conduct a search. 

Learn more about the new job search feature here, or head to to get started!

Veterans Helping Veterans banner

Veteran Success: VES staff help veteran prepare for and find a job

VES mom with daughter

Katherine, a military veteran with extensive years of service, faced unique challenges as she sought to align her skill set with potential employment opportunities. To navigate this transition, she reached out to Matthew Mendez, a Southfield-based Veterans’ Career Advisor.

Matthew helped Katherine identify industries and companies where her skills could be effectively utilized. Their discussions covered various aspects, including addressing her age, handling interview questions, and bridging the gap between her military experience and prospective employers. They also explored strategies for navigating potential scenarios where a much younger generation might be her supervisor.

Matthew and Katherine also worked on updating her resume, fine-tuning online job search techniques, and conducting mock interview sessions to better prepare her for actual interviews. Working closely with Matthew and program partner Javone Bane from Michigan Rehabilitation Services, Katherine successfully secured a position as an Administrative Assistant at JML Adjusting Services, with a competitive wage.

Katherine expressed her deep gratitude to Veterans' Employment Services and all those involved for their unwavering support in securing her financial future. See how VES can help you or a loved on at

VES staff help veterans at Genesee County Veteran Resource Rally

Collage of images from the Genesee County Rally

The Genesee County Department of Veteran Services recently organized an Armed Forces Resource Rally at Lake Callis in Davison, Michigan. This event brought together more than 50 vendors and drew in a crowd of 1,500 guests, including veterans, military family members and their families. Attendees were treated to live music, complimentary food, and a wide range of vendors, all dedicated to providing support to veterans.

During the event, Veterans’ Employment Services representatives Rayetta Wyatt and Durand Dean, along with Local Veterans’ Employment Representative Fred Pittman, were present to offer career coaching services to veterans who were facing significant obstacles in finding employment.

During the event, Rayetta Wyatt connected with a Korean War veteran in need of assistance to construct a ramp for easier access to his home. Through a brief conversation and by leveraging the connections within the Genesee County Department of Veteran Services, the process to build the ramp was promptly set in motion.

Events like the Genesee County Veterans Resource Rally play a crucial role in fostering unity within the military community. They provide a valuable platform for veterans and their families to access essential resources and support while strengthening the bonds within this community. View upcoming events at

Historic Veterans Called to Serve: Vernon Baker

Headshot of Vernon Baker

Vernon Baker, born in Cheyenne, Wyoming, in 1919, faced adversity from a young age. In April 1941, he joined the Army, overcoming racial barriers to enlist. Despite experiencing segregation during training, Baker remained determined to continue serving his country.

He initially trained at Fort Wolters, Texas, but later transfer to Fort Huachuca, Arizona, where he became a supply sergeant. Despite his contentment in this role, the Army sent him to Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia.

In June 1944, Baker and his fellow second lieutenants were deployed to Italy as part of the 92nd Infantry Division. He was wounded early on but returned to duty after recovering. On April 5, 1945, Baker led a daring assault on Castle Aghinolfi, a German stronghold in the Gothic Line. His platoon faced heavy casualties, but Baker's courage and leadership prevailed as he destroyed numerous enemy positions and took out nine enemy soldiers that night.

For his exceptional bravery, Vernon Baker was initially awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, which was later upgraded to the Medal of Honor in 1997 due to long-standing racial bias. His remarkable service and valor continue to be celebrated and honored.

Learn more about Vernon and other veterans like Vernon, visit the Veterans Legacy Program webpage.

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Virtual Job Fair Calendar banner

Check out these upcoming job and career events

An up-to-date list of upcoming job and career events is available on's Career Events Calendar.

West Oakland Regional Virtual Job Fair

Sept. 28, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Event Details:
 register for the event

Meet employers looking for candidates with your qualifications! This is a multi-industry event with employers from the Lakes Area, Oakland County, and surrounding regions.


Lansing School District Hiring Event

Sept. 28, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Event Address: Capital Area Michigan Works! - 2110 S Cedar St, Lansing, MI 48910

Recruiting for a variety of openings throughout multiple buildings within the school district.


Pine Rest Mental Health Services Open Interviews

Oct. 3, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.  
Event Address:
Pine Rest Mental Health Services - 300 68th St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49548
Event Details: register for the event

Now hiring Case Managers, Nurses, Psych Tech's, Social Workers, and more!


Dreamer's Healthcare Staffing Job Fair

Oct. 12, 12 p.m. - 3 p.m.  
Event Address:
Oakland County Michigan Works! Novi Service Center - 31186 Beck Rd, Novi, MI 48377
Event Details: view the event flyer

Dreamers Healthcare Staffing has partnered with us to host a job fair on-site! They're looking for qualified RNs, LPNs, CNAs, and caregivers. Stop by to speak with a representative about their openings & potentially interview on the spot!


Job Fairs Count as Work Search Activity in Michigan
Registering for and attending Virtual Job Fair events supported by the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity count as official work search activities required by the Unemployment Insurance Agency. Check out upcoming virtual and in-person job fairs by visiting’s Career Events website.

Event Success Tips

  • Be Prepared: Charge your phone and practice your elevator pitch.
  • Keep an Open Mind: You never know which company has the perfect job for you.
  • Work the Room: Stop by every booth and share your QR code with every organization.
  • Rule of 3: Get at least three company follow-ups.
  • Apply as You Network: Apply to open positions while you network with recruiters.
  • Smile: Be confident. You've got this!

About Veterans’ Employment Services

VES logo

Welcome to the Veterans’ Employment Services (VES) Newsletter. Our mission is to assist you and your family secure meaningful careers in Michigan.

The concept of veterans helping veterans is a trademark of the VES team and one of the keys to its success. Veterans face many challenges when transitioning out of the military – finding meaningful employment should not be one of them.

  • Veterans in need of employment assistance should contact the nearest Michigan Works! One-Stop Service Center by calling 800-285-WORKS (9675) or visiting
  • More information about Veterans’ Employment Services is available at
  • Register today and start your job search at Pure Michigan Talent Connect at

Health and Other Resources


Health Resources

Additional Resources

Health Benefits: 877-222-8387
Other VA Benefits: 800-827-1000

Veterans Crisis Line: 800-273-8255
Homeless Services: 877-424-3838

Health Benefits

Veterans Crisis Line 

Mental Health

Homeless Services


Readjustment Counseling (Vet Centers) 

Disease Prevention

Compensated Work Therapy

Women Veterans Health Care

Substance Abuse Programs

Geriatrics and Extended Care

National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 

Rural Health 



If you are a veteran looking for information concerning education, health care, benefits or quality of life programs, please visit the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency for more information, or call the Michigan Veteran Resource Service Center at 800-MICH-VET. 

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Veterans' Employment Services is part of Workforce Development, within the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity's Office of Employment and Training.