Top 10 Veterans Stories in Today’s News

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Veterans!  Here’s your Top 10 News stories of the day compiled from the latest sources

We encourage you to browse our list so that you can take what you want and keep what you need…..

  1. Dominguez, Henderson to Lead “Pivotal” Task Force.  The former chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the chief diversity officer for Weyerhaeuser are the co-leaders of a task force responsible for creating measurable diversity and inclusion standards.
  2. Best Companies for Leadership.  Now in its sixth year, the Best Companies for Leadership study has a simple, single-minded purpose: to identify which organizations have the best leadership practices, then see what we can learn from them.
  3. 2011 Diversity Council Honors Award.  The Association of Diversity Councils released the list of the Top 25 U.S. diversity councils to be recognized and honored and their rankings revealed at the 2011 Diversity Council Honors Award Dinner and Ceremony in April.
  4. OPM Launches Online University for Human Resources Managers.  A new Web site offers courses and career development resources across government for a price.
  5. OPM ROWE Pilot Update.  OPM has extended the Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) pilot through FY2011 and is working to better align performance standards with the principles of operating in a ROWE (i.e., managing to results).
  6. Turnover Lower for Organizations with an Established Flexibility Culture.  The higher an organization rates itself on flexibility offerings, policies, and impacts, the lower the organization’s voluntary turnover rate, according to a report released by WorldatWork.
  7. Engaging a Multi-Generational Workforce: Practical Advice for Government Managers.  Concrete advice on how to communicate well with employees from different generations can be hard to find. The IBM Center for the Business of Government released a report attempting to fill that knowledge gap.
  8. What Do Your Gen Y Employees Really Want? Recent research sponsored by Northrop Grumman, No. 47 on the 2010 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity survey, gives us a look at what younger employees want.
  9. How to Grow Young Feds at Your Agency.  Given all the pressures on the Federal workforce, agencies will soon have to do more to keep younger employees on board.
  10. How to Eliminate Your Company’s Promotion Gaps.  How are major companies solving the inequities that cause retention and promotion gaps for underrepresented groups?

HAVE YOU HEARD?

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The Civilian–Veteran Survival Field Manual

VA’s blog, VAntage Point, provides eight useful tips for bridging the divide between Veterans and civilians. The Dos and Don’ts range from listening, learning, to having an open mind.

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IN OTHER NEWS

  • Highlights Of Obama’s $3.73 Trillion Budget. Obama Requests 4.5 Percent Spending Increase For VA In 2012. AP “What President Barack Obama has requested in his $3.73 trillion budget for the 2012 fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.” For the Veterans Affairs Department, “$129 billion” has been requested, which is a “4.5 percent increase” from 2011. The proposal “would provide $208 million in aid to caregivers who are family members of the severely wounded from the recent” wars, “invest $183 million to help jumpstart VA’s effort to reduce its massive claims backlog…by starting to implement a paperless claims” system, “invest $939 million to help expand services for homeless veterans through private and public partnerships,” and “provide $6 billion for programs targeting the mental health needs of veterans, including those with traumatic brain injury.”
  • Request Includes Money For Wounded Vets, Paperless Claims Processing. Bloomberg News On Monday, Obama “proposed a $61.85 billion budget for discretionary spending on US military veterans in fiscal year 2012, including $6 billion to treat troops who return from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars with post-traumatic stress disorders and brain injuries.” Obama is also “proposing $183 million for a paperless claims processing system. VA Secretary Eric Shinseki…had planned to implement a paperless claims processing system by 2012 to reduce the disability claims processing time to 125 days.”
  • Based On Request Figures, VA Labeled A Winner. Washington Post “Some agencies gain, some lose” with Obama’s budget request. The Post adds, “Big winners include the departments of Education, Energy and Veterans Affairs, while the EPA, Interior and Agriculture would suffer.”
  • House Appropriations Committee Cuts VA’s 2011 IT Budget. Government Executive “The House Appropriations Committee sliced $160 million from the Veterans Affairs Department’s 2011 information technology budget in a broad spending plan that the panel introduced late Friday to cut $100 billion from this year’s” Federal budget. The “2011 continuing resolution sets the department’s IT budget at $3.147 billion, 5.1 percent below the $3.307 billion VA requested. The Appropriations Committee said the budget cuts reflect savings VA achieved from canceling projects.”
  • VA, HUD Release Analysis Of Homeless Vets. Coastal Courier “The Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Affairs departments released last week what officials say is an authoritative analysis of the extent and nature of homelessness among military veterans. According to HUD and VA’s assessment, nearly 76,000 veterans were homeless on a given night in 2009, while roughly 136,000 veterans spent at least one night in a shelter during that year.” After noting that the assessment is “part of President Barack Obama’s plan to prevent and end homelessness in America,” the Courier quoted, “We continue to work toward our goal of finding every veteran safe housing and access to needed services.”
  • VA Officials Optimistic About Turning Tide On Claims Backlog By 2012. Army Times “Veterans Affairs Department officials say they can now see an end to the long nightmare of an ever-growing mountain of disability and compensation claims that has long infuriated veterans and their families. By 2012,” such officials “expect dramatic improvements in both the speed and accuracy of claims processing,”
  • Jobless Rate Up Again For Young Vets. Unemployment Rate For Young Vets Still Rising. Army Times “The unemployment rate for young veterans continues to rise despite modest improvements in the overall job market, according to the…January employment report” from the Labor Department. The report shows “15.2 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are out of work.”
  • Congress Urged To Press For Review Of Veteran Employment Assistance Efforts. Army Time “Congress should press the Pentagon,” the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the “Labor Department for an immediate review of existing” employment assistance efforts.
  • Department Of Veterans Affairs To Expand Therapy Treatment. VA To Offer Cognitive Processing Therapy. Las Vegas Business Press “In response to a Government Accountability Office report on post-traumatic stress disorder, the Department of Veterans Affairs has decided to offer cognitive processing therapy and prolonged-exposure therapy to treat the disorder at its facilities.” According to the Press, VA “estimates that up to 20 percent of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans have experienced post-traumatic stress disorder, and demand for treatment may be increasing.”
  • Families Of Wounded Veterans Waiting For Benefits Signed Into Law By Obama. Wife Of Injured Vet Worried About Receiving Caregiver Benefits. Huffington Post “President Obama authorized a benefit expansion nine months ago for caregivers of military service members, but the Department of Veterans Affairs missed the Jan. 31 deadline for implementing the program, the Washington Post reports. On top of the delay, fewer families might receive the benefits than previously thought.” The Post adds, “Sarah Wade, who quit her job to care for her husband who was injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq, says she might not receive monthly living stipends she originally thought she’d qualify for, according to Stars and Stripes, the Department of Defense newspaper. Wade says she’s devastated because she stood next to President Obama when he signed the bill last year.”
  • Project Aims To Help Women Vets Heal The Wounds Of War. Retreat Held In California For Women Veterans Of Wars In Iraq And Afghanistan. KPBS-FM “Last weekend, a retreat…in San Diego was held for women veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. It was sponsored by the Coming Home Project,” an “organization made up of psychotherapists, veterans and interfaith leaders. It’s one of several outreach programs that the Coming Home Project offers to Service Members transitioning back to life at home.
  • Vets With Prosthetics To Get More Clothing Allowances VA Amending Prosthetic Clothing Allowance Rules. Army Times “The Veterans Affairs Department is amending rules for providing a clothing allowance to disabled veterans whose garments are subject to wear because of prosthetic or orthopedic devices.” Before “now, veterans have been limited to getting one payment, currently $716 a year, but rules proposed Feb. 2 will allow two payments if a veteran has multiple devices wearing out his clothing. The change results from a federal court ruling involving a Vietnam veteran…who requested two clothing payments because he had lost both legs and an arm during the war.”
  • VA Psychiatrist Stresses Importance Of New ICU Protocols. Wall Street Journal An increasing number of hospitals are instituting new intensive-care unit (ICU) protocols that include lighter patient sedation when possible and efforts to get patients moving as soon as possible in order to help restore their physical and mental equilibrium. The Journal quotes Barbara Kamholz, a psychiatrist with the Veterans Affairs hospital in Durham, North Carolina, who said, “The whole purpose of an ICU visit is to get well enough to get back to your life. If we are disabling people in the process it isn’t consistent with the goal of recovery.”
  • Soldiers: US Army Must Do More After Mental Health Treatment Ends. Army Times soldiers have “said that while the US Army has stood up a suicide prevention task force and instituted programs to deal with depression, more work needs to be done when the soldier leaves a hospital or counselor’s office. The problem seems acute in the National Guard and Reserve.” The Times notes that Guard and Reserve “soldiers aren’t always together or near treatment facilities.”
  • Specialized Courts Helping Troubled Vets. Army Times “more than 50” veterans courts have been “created overt the past three years across the nation.” The courts specialize in “working with troubled veterans to get them counseling,” linking “them to government benefits,” helping “them regain the sense of discipline and camaraderie they had in uniform,” and steering “them onto a more positive course in life.” Veterans Affairs hospitals “increasingly engage with these local courts to provide better, more immediate services to troubled vets.”
  • Mobile Vet Center Reaching Out To Vets In California. Gilroy (CA) Dispatch “A Mobile Vet Center offering outreach and counseling will be in Gilroy from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday and March 17 at the Gilroy Veterans Memorial Building at 74 West Sixth St. The center is a traveling resource housed in a state-of-the-art motor coach” that is “outfitted with satellite capabilities.
  • Pentagon Unveils Plan To Increase Some Tricare Fees. Army Times “Health care coverage rates for working-age military retirees would increase about 13 percent under a controversial plan unveiled by Pentagon officials Monday.” The Tricare fee increases, which do not affect “active-duty members and their families or…Medicare-eligible Tricare for Life beneficiaries,” are “part of Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ broader plan to cut $7 billion from the military health system’s budget during the next five years.” Gates “said…the budget is the latest step in his effort to curtail spending and preempt efforts by Congress to impose even more severe cuts.”
  • VA Reaching Out To Vets In Nebraska. Lincoln (NE) Journal Star “The national and state Departments of Veterans Affairs will host two open houses at the Cass County fairgrounds in Weeping Water, noon to 7 p.m. March 4 and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 5, to provide information and counseling to rural-area veterans. The sessions in the expo building, 8420 114th St., will feature representatives” from the Veterans Affairs Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System, “Veterans Benefit Administration Regional Office, Vet Centers, Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs and the Nebraska Transition Assistance Adviser.”
  • Hobbled Veterans Regain Sense Of Self Through Active Living. McClatchy
  • A Soldier Named Lucky, Part 3: Lucky Deals With Post-Traumatic Stress And Declining Health. Southeast Missourian
  • SEAL Faker: “I Was Trying To Help Out Vets.” USA Today
  • Teens Show Veterans Love, Gratitude. The Detroit Free Press

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