Veterans Applaud New York Governor Cuomo’s Employment Initiatives

NEW YORK, NY (January 8, 2014) – As New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is set to announce new initiatives to support veterans in today’s annual State of the State address, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) applauds his leadership and support for veterans. An estimated 85,000 post-9/11 veterans currently live in New York State.

Governor Cuomo is expected to announce that businesses owned by disabled military veterans will benefit through selected targeting for state contracts. In addition, $74 million in new tax credits took effect on January 1, 2014 for businesses that hire post-9/11 veterans.  Currently, the unemployment rate for New York veterans is 8.1 percent. Governor Cuomo is also expected to hold a spring summit to address the needs of New York veterans and their families.

“New York State is home to tens of thousands of highly qualified post-9/11 veterans who will benefit from Governor Cuomo’s new initiatives on behalf of the new greatest generation,” said Paul Rieckhoff, Founder and CEO of IAVA, who is a New York Army National Guard Iraq Veteran and a 9/11 first responder. “Governor Cuomo understands that our veterans are an investment – and that New York ought to be a national leader in supporting veterans of all generations. IAVA thanks Governor Cuomo for his strong leadership and commitment to veterans.”

While IAVA is a national organization, it was founded in New York and has a strong membership presence across the state.  IAVA is expanding its Rapid Response Referral Program (RRRP) from New York City to all of New York State.  RRRP is IAVA’s case management and referral services program.  Over the last year RRRP has served over 400 clients in New York City, and has helped over 1,000 veterans nationwide.  RRRP connects veterans to highly qualified staff of case managers, who assist veterans with education, employment, housing, mental health, and other services.  Veterans can contact RRRP directly by calling this toll-free number: 855-91-RAPID (855-917-2743), emailing RRRP attransition@iava.org, or visiting www.IAVA.org/RRRP.

In addition to advocating for state-level policies that support veterans, New York IAVA members are active at the national level. New York veterans have joined a national effort to undo the federal budget agreement – signed into law by President Obama– which reduces the annual cost-of-living adjustment for military retirees and survivors, leading to a 20 percent cut to retirement benefits over the course of their lives.

Note to media: Email press@iava.org or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the nation's first and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and has nearly 300,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. Celebrating its 10th year anniversary, IAVA recently received the highest rating - four-stars - from Charity Navigator, America's largest charity evaluator.