Friday Digest: July 23

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Friday Digest: July 23, 2021

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This Week:

COVID-19 Updates

We can see the end of this pandemic, but we are not quite there yet. We will take concrete steps to keep Minnesotans safe while we get the vaccine to even more people.

The latest COVID-19 updates from the Governor's office are available at

MDVA's latest COVID-19 updates can be found at

Walk-ins Welcome at VA Health Care System Vaccination Sites

All Department of Veterans Affairs facilities and clinics that administer COVID-19 vaccines are accepting walk-ins for eligible Veterans, spouses and caregivers.

This walk-in service ensures all Veterans enrolled in VA health care and those authorized under the SAVE LIVES Act have an opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccination from VA at a time convenient for them.

The urgency to vaccinate as many eligible individuals as quickly as possible remains a top priority for VA.

“VA encourages those who wish to get their COVID-19 vaccine without an appointment to check the walk-in hours and requirements at their local facility,” said Acting VA Under Secretary for Health Richard Stone, M.D. “ Individuals taking advantage of walk-in vaccinations may need to wait for the vaccine to be prepared and will be screened when entering the facility.”

To date, VA has vaccinated more than 2.7 million individuals, including over 60,000 individuals under the SAVE LIVES Act. For more information about COVID-19 vaccinations at VA, click here.

VA vaccination clinics are not open 24 hours. Face masks are mandatory for all and physical distancing measures will be in place.

Work at MDVA

The needs of Minnesota Veterans do not diminish during this time, and MDVA needs staff to serve and care for our Veterans. We have a significant need for Certified Nursing Assistants and Resident Assistants in our Veterans Homes.

Working for the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs is a rewarding career with great State of Minnesota Benefits. If you know anyone seeking a fulfilling career supporting Minnesota Veterans and their families, please encourage them to explore opportunities with MDVA.

Interested in working at MDVA? You can sign-up here to receive employment information directly from our Human Resources department.

A full listing of positions can be found at the Minnesota Careers website. Some of our current job openings include:

Fergus Falls



Silver Bay

St. Paul

Suicide Prevention Coordinator

Veterans Virtual Career Fair, July 29

Veterans Virtual Career Fair

CareerForce Veterans Employment Services and the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs invites all Veterans, active military members, and their spouses to a Virtual Career Fair on July 29.
Work for an employer that recognizes and appreciates your experience and the value you bring to their team! Employers participating in the Veterans Virtual Career Fair are encouraged to offer Veterans full-time jobs with benefits and family-sustaining wages.

More information >>

Veteran Readiness & Employment & Microsoft/MSSA Virtual Job Fair, July 30

Calling MSSA Graduates, VR&E Members, & Veteran Job Seekers for a Computer Science, Business, Program/Management Analyst, IT (A+, Net +, Security +, etc.), Technology, Customer Service/Support, and Software Engineering career fair.

There is an upcoming virtual hiring event on July 30 from 12 - 3  p.m. ET in partnership with VR&E (part of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs), and 30+ companies interested in hiring Microsoft Software & Systems Academy (MSSA) students and graduates, VR&E members, and Veterans.

More information >>


Suicide Prevention Webinar Warning Series

The Suicide Prevention Unit at the Minnesota Department of Health presents the Suicide Prevention Webinar series. These educational webinars serve as a way to connected and share information. The series includes six webinars with subject matter experts working across the state on these topics:  

Sign up here for the Suicide Prevention Webinar Series

Please contact the organizers: Shelly Dieu at or Tanya Carter at if you have any questions. 

PGA Hope: Free Golf Clinic, Fridays Aug. 6 - Sept. 10

The lifetime sport of golf has proven to be an excellent outlet for activity and competition, but also allows Veterans to assimilate back into their community through the social interaction the game provides. PGA HOPE Minnesota is open to all Veterans and is offered at no cost.

More information >>

PGA Hope: Free Clinic

CALM: Counseling on Access to Lethal Means

Do you provide mental health care to service members, Veterans, and their families? In partnership with the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs and the Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide Among SMVF, NAMI Minnesota is offering free CALM trainings for mental health providers in Minnesota who work with service members, Veterans, and their families.

  • August 26: 12 - 3:30 p.m.

More information >>

CALM Series

Resources for Hearing Loss

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Veterans Health Statistics, approximately 37% of Veterans report having severe hearing loss. If you are a Veteran with hearing loss, there are many ways to improve access to communication.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division is here to help!

There are a wide variety of communication strategies, assistive devices and accommodations that you can use to improve access to your environment. Most people with hearing loss use a combination of tools, including:

  • Using hearing aids with assistive listening devices to reduce background noise, making it easier to focus on what the speaker is saying.
  • Using speech-to-text apps to support listening in short, casual interactions.
  • Requesting real-time captioning for meetings, events, conferences, doctor appointments, performances, court hearings and more. With real-time captioning (or CART), captioners use a stenotype machine, notebook computer, and software to turn speech into text. The text can be displayed on a computer monitor or tablet, projected onto a screen, or combined with a video presentation as captions. A person with hearing loss can then read the captions.
  • Requesting captioning devices in movie theaters or attending open-captioned movies. Contact your local theater to find out what they offer and to request access.

Access to the phone

The Telephone Equipment Distribution (TED) Program offers amplified and captioned phones, interconnectivity devices and other devices that make it easier to use the phone. If you have an amplified or captioned phone and are still having difficulty using the phone, interconnectivity devices may make phone conversations clearer. If you have a speech disability or mobility limitations that make it hard to use the phone, other adaptive phone devices are available. TED staff can also help you apply for lower-cost phone or internet service.

For more details, see the TED eligibility and application webpage.

Other resources

The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) has begun offering free, captioned virtual meetings for veterans and their families. You can learn more about these meetings on HLAA’s website.

Contact Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division can help veterans learn more about hearing loss and using assistive technology. Contact them for personal guidance or visit their website to find a wide range of resources.

Voice or preferred relay service: 800-657-3663
Videophone: 651-964-1514

FEMA - COVID-19 Funeral Assistance

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought overwhelming grief to many families. The mission at FEMA is to help people before, during and after disasters. They are dedicated to helping ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the virus.

Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA is providing financial assistance for COVID-19 related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020.

More information >>

Preventing Veteran Suicide: Free Gun Locks Available

Sadly, an average of 100 Minnesota Veterans die by suicide each year. Two-thirds of these deaths are by guns.

To help prevent Veteran suicide MDVA is partnering with the VA Healthcare System to distribute free gun locks. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, a locked gun can mean the difference between a tragic outcome and a life saved for someone in crisis. Though Veterans are well-versed in firearm safety, all gun owners should understand that during emotional or stressful times, delaying access to a gun could mean the difference between life and death. Gun locks can prevent someone in crisis from tragically taking their own life

In an effort to reduce these preventable tragedies, MDVA is offering free gun locks. To request a gun lock, please email with your name and address. This information will not be shared; requests are confidential.

Thank you for supporting the efforts of MDVA and the “Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans, and their Families.” For more information on MDVA’s suicide prevention efforts, visit

Teachers On Call

Teachers on Call

Teachers On Call works with Saint Paul Public Schools as well as other districts all over Minnesota by providing substitute teachers & educational assistants/paraprofessionals to serve the needs of the schools on a daily basis. They also fill positions such as food service, custodians, nurses, etc in various districts. As preperations begin for the 21-22 school year, it’s going to be a busy one! Schools will need teachers this fall!

The high need means students & community members could benefit from these opportunities within the districts. As a substitute, they have the power to change the world all in a day’s work. They decide when, where, and what grade levels they want to work with. All employees are eligible for perks including weekly pay with direct deposit, optional insurance, 401(k), free online pre-hire training before stepping in the classroom, and more. And don’t forget the most important perk of all: making a difference in the lives of students!

Qualifications? To be a substitute teacher: Current MN Teaching License OR a Substitute License. Don’t have either? With at least a Bachelor’s Degree, you can apply for a Substitute License from the MN Department of Education. To be an educational assistant: High School Diploma. Some districts do require 60+ college credits or completion of the ParaPro Exam.

More information >>


VA Extends Debt Relief for Veterans

VA is extending debt relief for Veterans through September 30, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. VA will suspend collection of all Veteran benefit overpayments incurred between April 6, 2020, and September 30, 2021. No adverse actions or collection attempts will occur during this suspension period. Additionally, all co-payments for medical care and pharmacy services incurred from April 6, 2020, through September 30, 2021, will be cancelled, along with any fees or interest. Any payments for this time period will be refunded.

More information >>