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November 20, 2009

Governor Quinn Announces Statewide Initiative to Help Veterans Transition to Civilian Life
“Operation Employ Veterans” Provides Key Link to Businesses

CHICAGO – November 20, 2009. Governor Pat Quinn today announced Operation Employ Veterans, a statewide initiative that will help servicemen and women transition into civilian life by providing employment training and contact with potential employers.

Operation Employ Veterans was announced during the “Aon Salute to America’s Wounded Warriors” event held at the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago.

“These brave men and women unselfishly served our country. Now we have the honor of helping them achieve their dreams of a good job and greater opportunity,” said Governor Quinn. “Operation Employ Veterans will help veterans and their families receive the services they need to make a seamless transition back into civilian life, including finding gainful employment.”

Operation Employ Veterans will educate employers on the benefits of hiring veterans. Through its Community OneSource component, the program will provide veterans and their families with a variety of reintegration support services.

The Operation Employ Veterans program is a joint initiative of the disabilityworks program and the Easter Seals organization. Disabilityworks, a nationally recognized effort geared toward enhancing employment and training opportunities for people with disabilities, is funded by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and administered by the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.

Easter Seals has been helping individuals with disabilities and special needs, and their families, live better lives for nearly 90 years. The organization started a pilot program in Chicago to address veterans’ issues on the local level.

Operation Employ Veterans was developed to enhance the services available at the local level and help fill the gaps in the veterans' services delivery system statewide. DCEO provided a $500,000 grant for the program. A number of state agencies will be involved with facilitating services through the program including the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Employment Security and Central Management Services, as well as other local organizations.

The Governor was joined at the event today by Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson (D-Illinois); Mayor Richard M. Daley; Maureen O’Donnell, Director of the Illinois Department of Employment Security; Dan Grant, Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, and other state officials and representatives from the Aon Corporation.


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