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United Way – King County and Terrence Cabiao Bring Veterans Back to Work with the Veteran Employment Project October 11, 2012

Posted by servicecorpsnews in Accomplishment Spotlight.
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United Way of King County (UWKC), a Community Blueprint site and the sponsoring organization of American Legion Auxiliary Call to Service Corps member Terrence Cabiao, has recently launched its Veteran Employment Project. As part of UWKC’s Campaign to End Chronic Homelessness, the Veteran Employment Project will address long-term homelessness by combining two national best-practices: supported employment and supportive housing. Recognizing that a combination of these programs will help its clients achieve better housing and employment outcomes, UWKC decided to kick of the effort with a substantial investment of $250,000. Over the next two years, United Way will team up with three highly qualified community based agencies to connect over 200 chronically homeless veterans with job training and employment services.

As an AmeriCorps VISTA assigned to UWKC, Cabiao helped his organization develop the knowledge and ground-level support needed to successfully launch the Veteran Employment Project. He met with more than a dozen community-based organizations, local funders and VA staff members to explain the initiative and secure their support. Also, he wrote the request for qualification for funding for the project. As he did so, he discovered the profound importance employment has to veterans and military families: it results in increased spending power, provides a clear pathway to independence, and is an evidence-based practice for recovery. As a direct result of his efforts, over ten local agencies applied for the funding. Cabiao also participated in the selection committee that awarded funds to the chosen applicants.

One part of the proposal came to fruition on October 2, when UWKC held its first event for the Veteran Employment Project. Cabiao worked to ensure that attendance was high by reaching out to and inviting many local employers, particularly small businesses, businesses associations, and members of the local Chamber of Commerce. His diligence was amply rewarded; over a dozen employers attended, where they were able to ask questions and learn from experts about supported employment programs. Many in attendance were concerned about perceived challenges involved in hiring from the homeless veteran population, fearing issues such as behavioral health, substance abuse and physical disability. Their concerns were successfully assuaged by the experts in attendance.

The event was highly successful by any measure, and marks a strong beginning of UWKC’s advocacy for homeless veterans in the King County area. Commenting on the event, Cabiao said, “It was a wonderful conversation all around the table. It was impressive to see the flow of business cards being exchanged at the end of the event and even witness one of the employers say they would like to hire veterans now, and what are my next steps.”

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