Thomas E. Perez was formally sworn in as the new Labor Secretary in a White House ceremony on September 4, 2013, and Paralyzed Veterans of America looks forward to working with the new leadership to expand employment opportunities for all veterans.
Vice President Joe Biden ceremonially swears in Thomas Perez as Secretary of Labor, in Washington, DC, Sep. 4, 2013. Also pictured: (from left) Rafael Perez, Ann Staudenmaier, Amalia Perez, and Susana Perez. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)
Paralyzed Veterans of America has been a lead voice on veterans unemployment, particularly among the severely disabled, since the launch of its vocational rehabilitation service in 2007.
“Since that time, we’ve recognized the growing enormity of the problem as sequestration and economic recession have led to lay-offs and non-hiring,” said Sherman Gillums, Jr., associate director of veterans benefits for Paralyzed Veterans of America, who attended the White House ceremony. “For that reason, we’ve taken on the challenge of assisting any veteran facing barriers to attaining a job, whether it’s a disability, homelessness or adjustment issues.”
Paralyzed Veterans in 2011 launched Operation PAVE, or Paving Access for Veterans Employment, in recognition of that expanded scope of mission. The program, which has seven regional and seventeen satellite offices located around the country, provides job assistance to all veterans and their families as well as assistance to employers committed to hiring veterans.
Paralyzed Veterans and the Labor Department have worked hand-in-hand through Labor’s deployment of Disabled Veteran Outreach Program specialists who offers services through state grants from more than 2,500 American Job Centers across the country.
The DVOPs have proven to be a valuable resource to Operation PAVE regional and satellite offices, while Paralyzed Veterans’ expertise on veteran benefits, health care and career assistance for the hardest-to-place veterans serves as an additional resource for DVOPs to enhance their skills and understanding.
“We welcome the leadership of incoming Secretary Perez and hope to build upon our past successes with our Labor partners,” Gillums said.
Learn more about Operation PAVE
Brittany Ballenstedt is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in several publications, including Government Executive, National Journal, Technology Daily and NextGov.com.