ARIZONA @ WORK Veterans team was commended by the governor’s office for their work on the Veteran Toolkit
Due to a collaborative effort formed in 2017 between the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services (ADVS) and the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) through ARIZONA @ WORK, the Veterans Toolkit has been successful in helping Arizona’s veterans gain the supplies they need to acquire a job.
Of the 258 Toolkits utilized so far this calendar year, 254 (or 98.4%) have resulted in successful job placements. Governor Doug Ducey recently issued a commendation to the team responsible for administering the Veterans Toolkit for increasing applications by 300% through process improvements using the Arizona Management System (AMS).
Related: [email protected] Provides Encouragement, Connects Veteran to Employment Toolkit
Deputy Administrator of Field Operations, Chris Tafoya, oversees the Veterans Toolkit Program at DES. Tafoya says the program has far exceeded expectations. “Great collaboration between two State departments makes this a success,” he said.
“Arizona is one of the best states for veterans due to the overwhelming amount of additional benefits veterans can receive, with this being one of them,” Tafoya said. “It’s all, in part, due to uniquely leveraging opportunities to better serve veterans. We couldn’t do this without our partners.”
Veterans Regional Coordinator, Leo Verdugo, assists in administering the Toolkit. He said veterans give glowing reviews of the Toolkit and the process, with many of them encouraging others to look into the program.
“We always conduct a two week follow-up with the veterans after they start their new position,” Verdugo said. “Our visits are always positive, and a lot of the times they refer more [veterans] to us as well.”
ARIZONA @ WORK veterans teams have a minimum goal of 90% successful placements, but they always strive for 100% efficiency. The teams are always looking to assist veterans in the community, since many of them don’t know about these resources at their disposal.
“DVOPS (Disabled Veteran Outreach Program Specialists) go out in the community and engage with veterans to help them on their employment journey, identifying those in need of a Toolkit to start employment — it helps eliminates that financial stressor,” Verdugo said.
Through the Toolkit, veterans can obtain assistance in acquiring equipment for work — like clothes, boots, tools and transportation costs. A veteran must already have a job lined up to acquire the benefits of the Toolkit. The success rate is measured by sustainability at the place of employment two weeks after receiving Toolkit assistance.
For more information on the Veterans Toolkit, and other veterans resources, visit our veterans website, or call a local [email protected] One-Stop Job Center near you.
By Ben Flores