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Groups Unite on Blueprint to Help Returning Vets

by Greg Tucker

After defending our country in locations all around the world, many veterans find more battles await them when they return home. A new initiative was announced today to support and ease the reintegration of returning service members, veterans, and their families as they search for jobs and support services.

Retired Gen. George Casey, former chief of Staff of the Army, and AmeriCorps Director Bill Basl joined officials from Points of Light, ITT Exelis, and a coalition of 55 veteran and military service organizations, nonprofits, and government agencies from across the country to announce the Community Blueprint launch.

The Blueprint's mission is to improve the outcomes for the more than 1 million military members who will come home during the next five years as they seek access to services and support that will enable them to become future leaders and problem-solvers on the home front. The idea for the initiative sprang from a 2010 gathering involving a coalition of military support organizations, and its goal is to establish 200 cities and towns as Community Blueprint communities by 2014.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) is proud to support this effort, and Basl attended the event to lead this year's class of the Veteran Leader Corps (VLC) in the AmeriCorps pledge. The VLC currently operates in seven states and its members serve in volunteer centers and workforce development nonprofits while they enhance their leadership skills by supporting America's soldiers.

This just one of the many veterans' groups CNCS is supporting with $6.2 million in AmeriCorps grants this year alone. In addition to the 27,000 veterans involved in national service, CNCS programs serve 600,000 veterans and military families in more than 200 communities nationwide. Some of the services CNCS provides include employment placement, behavioral health counseling, community rehabilitation, homeless veteran support, and financial literacy.

“Today we welcome even more veterans into the AmeriCorps program as part of Points of Light's Veteran Leader Corps,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “We are honored to work with our partners in the military and nonprofit communities to create economic opportunities for veterans and their families.”

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