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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 9, 2013

Women Vets Will Find Unique Information and Services at Women Veterans Fair

CHICAGO – Women veterans represent the fastest growing demographic in the larger veteran community in Illinois and face unique challenges in transitioning to civilian life.  In light of Governor Pat Quinn’s continued leadership to ensure Illinois is the nation’s most veteran-friendly state, and in cooperation with Southwestern Illinois College (SWIC), the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) is proud to offer the Illinois Women Veterans Fair, on Sat. April 13, 2013.

This event will be held at the Southwestern Illinois College Liberal Arts Complex Conference Center (2500 Carlyle Ave., Belleville, IL) on Saturday, April 13, 2013.  The event includes a complimentary light breakfast social, remarks from SWIC President Georgia Costello, Ph.D., IDVA Director Erica Borggren, herself a US Army veteran, and Maj. Gen. Barbara Faulkenberry, Vice-Commander, 18th Air Force, Scott Air Force Base.  Following the remarks, there will be panel discussions geared to help women veterans “own” their military experience, to transition more smoothly into civilian life, and to understand and better deal with Military Sexual Trauma (MST) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to their military service. 

“We at IDVA are proud to be partnering with SWIC to serve women veterans in this unique way,” said Erica Borggren, Director, IDVA. “We are creating a welcoming, child-friendly space for women veterans who may never have attended a veterans’ event before – and we hope that many of them well take advantage of the opportunity to connect with each other and with available resources”. 

"Southwestern Illinois College has a longstanding commitment to serving our nation's veterans. It is part of the fabric of our institution, begun in 1946 as World War II veterans began to return to the U.S. The college serves the most student veterans of any public institution in Illinois. During the 2011-12 academic year, we served more than 1,200 student veterans and active duty military, and nearly 900 dependents," said President Georgia Costello. "This opportunity to partner with the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs to assist female veterans in their transition from military to civilian life is something that the college and its staff are excited to be a part of offering. We hope that women veterans will be informed and empowered by what they learn and the connections they make to available resources."

Women veterans may come back from military service with different needs than their male counterparts.  These include being younger, with unique healthcare needs; having the highest rate of unemployment in the veteran populations, and often not self-identifying as veterans.  They also access veteran services and resources less often than male veterans.

The event is being co-hosted by SWIC and the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) as a means of serving the fastest growing demographic of veterans – our women veterans.  Media are welcome to attend.  Media interested in pre-event interviews or on-site access and coverage are encouraged to call 618-235-2700: Kelly Turner, ext. 5443, or Katy Dahlmann, ext. 5959.  For media interviews with IDVA Director Borggren in advance of or at the event, please contact Ryan Yantis, communication manager, IDVA 312-814-0778 or ryan.yantis@illinois.gov.

Women veterans are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible, as only the first 100 women vets can be guaranteed admittance.  Over 19 vendors have signed up to provide services and information to those attending – including 2 businesses owned by women veterans.  For those with children, they should feel free to bring their children along.  For additional information and to register, please visit: womenveterans.illinois.gov or email  womenveterans@illinois.gov  For more information, please visit www.veterans.illinois.gov or call 1-800-437-9824.

 



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