The DC team was out flying its flag in both New York and Texas this week. The DC team met with the rest of IAVA staff at our headquarters in New York City and aboard the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum to set our organization’s priorities for the year. Later in the week our Interim Chief Policy Officer and Research Director, Jackie Maffucci, headed to Houston, Texas to join the VetTex “Research Meets The Road” Symposium where she spoke on the importance of data-driven advocacy.
IAVA Founder and CEO, Paul Rieckhoff, is also in the Lone Star state where delivered the keynote address today to the graduating class of over 200 veterans at Retail Ready Career Center (RRCC). Led by CEO Jon Davis, RRCC recruits transitioning military and Post-9/11 veterans for an intense 5-day a week program modeled after military training methodology. After the 6-week program, veterans can become certified for careers as Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) technicians. RRCC Job Placement Specialists work closely with heating and air contractors, manufacturers, and distributors to place students who have completed the program. IAVA Member Leader, Jeff Hensley, will also hosting a VetTogether in Dallas tonight. Make sure to RSVP here if you would like to attend.
In Washington, DC this week, we met with Reps. Jim Banks (R-IN), Kathy Castor (D-FL), Mike Coffman (R-CO), and Tim Walz (D-MN) to advocate for IAVA priorities. IAVA-supported legislation, the BRAVE Act, overwhelmingly passed the House and was received in the Senate. The BRAVE Act would increase veteran employment by allowing the VA to give preference when awarding procurement contracts to contractors who employ veterans full-time.
We also met with the VA Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Community Care and the VA Acting Under Secretary twice in the last week to discuss pressing issues such as improving the administration of community care and developing processes to expedite claims for VA benefits. VA senior officials conveyed VA Secretary Shulkin’s commitment to immediately get to work on resolving long-standing issues following his confirmation to his new post earlier this week. Lastly, IAVA also participated in the Army’s Office of Congressional and Public Affairs Partner Conference with Military/Veteran Service Organizations, where Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, and senior defense officials provided a strategic outlook for the Army’s year ahead.
The IAVA office will be closed this Presidents Day this Monday, but we’ll be back bright and early on Tuesday to advocate for our members and post-9/11 veterans.