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IAVA Partners with L.A. Mayor Garcetti’s 10,000 Strong Veterans Career Summit

Event marks IAVA’s one-year anniversary of California veteran support program

LOS ANGELES (July 13, 2015) – As Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) celebrates the one-year anniversary of its groundbreaking Rapid Response Referral Program (RRRP) in California, it is proud to serve as a partner of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s 10,000 Strong Veterans Career Summit. The day-long event takes place Tuesday, July 14 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Bob Hope Patriotic Hall. The summit is estimated to draw veterans from across the region to network with career and business experts, develop proposals for entrepreneurial projects and compete for government contracts.

“I am proud to have established an Office of Veterans Affairs in the City of Los Angeles for the first time since World War II,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “The contributions of our servicemen and women do not end when they take off their uniform, and neither do our obligations to honor their service. Hiring veterans is good business and it actively strengthens our economy. The innovation, determination, and resourcefulness that made these veterans successful in our armed services are the same qualities that will strengthen our local economy and help businesses reach greater heights.”

More than 100 employers partnering with the mayor’s office have committed to hiring veterans over the next three years, helping 10,000 veterans find gainful employment as part of the initiative. This goal complements IAVA’s RRRP program, which also helps veterans transitioning to civilian life. Launched in late 2012, RRRP has helped more than 4,793 veterans and family members nationally through free and confidential support and helping them cut through red tape to connect with quality resources and benefits. In 2014 the program expanded to California to support IAVA’s 20,000 members in the state.

“With over a quarter-million post-9/11 veterans in California, there is a huge need for services to help these men and women transition from the military into meaningful careers in their civilian life,” said IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff. “We applaud the work of Mayor Garcetti and the City of Los Angeles in tackling veteran employment issues head-on. IAVA is thrilled to be a part of the 10,000 Strong Veterans Career Summit, and to support L.A. area veterans everyday through our RRRP program. RRRP is more than just a hotline, it connects veterans with master level social workers who work with them holistically on the overall picture of their lives — from employment and education, to housing and healthcare, and beyond.”

To date, IAVA’s Rapid Response Referral Program has served more than 575 California veterans and families through one-on-one case management and made nearly 900 referrals to best-in-class resources. Jeff Park, a California-based Field Associate for IAVA currently serving in the California Army National Guard, said of his experience, “Working in California has been incredibly rewarding — having the opportunity to serve the community where I grew up is a very special privilege. With so many veterans looking to help and support one another, sharing a resource like RRRP and watching it spread within the veterans community through events, meetings, and VetTogethers has been an amazing experience.”

IAVA’s California leaders and staff have also hosted nearly 70 VetTogethers, bringing together hundreds of veterans for supportive, community-building experiences.The expansion of RRRP to California was made possible through the generous support of the Resnick Family Foundation and the Annenberg Foundation.

“I volunteered with IAVA because I wanted to help fellow post-9/11 veterans with issues they’d encounter navigating the VA, benefits available to them, and for the sense of camaraderie that many of us miss when we get out of the military,” said Tracey Cooper-Harris, L.A.-based Field Coordinator and U.S. Army veteran. “IAVA provides many of us veterans with another sense of purpose in helping our fellow vets, and giving back to this community is the best way we can all show that their service is appreciated.”

IAVA’s California and New York-based staff will be on-the-ground to participate in the summit, including a workshop entitled, “How Can I Leverage Technology to Advance My Career?” Along with providing resources on all elements of the transition process, IAVA will also be presenting on utilizing technology to secure needed support, community and advance career goals.

After the hiring initiative, IAVA is co-hosting a VetTogether with the Office of Mayor Garcetti at the JW Marriott at LA Live, just a few blocks away from the Bob Hope Patriotic Hall. IAVA staff will be available to talk through current efforts with members in California, as well as future plans with its newly-expanded California team.

WHAT: Mayor Garcetti’s 10,000 Strong Veterans Career Summit
WHEN: Tuesday, 7/14, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
WHERE: Bob Hope Patriotic Hall
1816 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90015

WHAT: IAVA VetTogether
WHEN: Tuesday, 7/14, 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
WHERE: Golden Ballroom at JW Marriott L.A. Live
900 W Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Veterans can contact an IAVA RRRP case manager by calling 855-91-RAPID (855-917-2743), emailing transition@iava.org, or visiting www.IAVA.org/RRRP.

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 leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. As a non-profit founded in 2004, IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans. Celebrating its 12th year anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 7,300 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.