Friday, August 12, 2011

VA Names Finalists for 2011 Employee Innovation Competition Proposals Improve Employment Services for Veterans Entering the Workforce

WASHINGTON (August 12, 2011) -- Twelve finalists have been selected for
the latest Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Innovation Initiative
(VAi2) competition, which sought new ideas to help service-disabled
Veterans obtain meaningful employment. VA employees submitted more than
700 proposals to the competition.

"This innovation competition underscores the commitment of VA employees
to making a positive difference in the way this Department serves
Veterans in the 21st century," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric
K. Shinseki. "Our transformation relies heavily on the talent and
expertise of our front-line employees -- to streamline operations,
improve services and do what is best for Veterans while protecting
taxpayers' dollars."

Peer review, enabled by crowd-sourcing technology and combined with
input from internal and external reviewers, identified 12 finalists in
this competition to improve Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment
VetSuccess services to Veterans.

The 12 finalists designed new ways to make it easier for Veterans to
access benefits and complete their employment rehabilitation programs,
while streamlining behind-the-scenes processes to deliver those benefits
faster and more effectively through enhanced automation.  Each finalist
is detailed on

"The competition highlights an important role for VA, which is to ensure
that Veterans with service-connected disabilities successfully
transition from military to civilian employment, achieving maximum
independence," said VA Under Secretary for Benefits Allison Hickey.  "I
am very excited about these innovative proposals; they come straight
from our employees who work with Veterans every day."

After hearing presentations from the 12 finalists, the VAi2 Executive
Selection Board will choose those innovations most suited for
implementation. Deputy Secretary of Veteran Affairs W. Scott Gould
chairs the board, comprised of the under secretaries for benefits and
health, and VA's chief information and technology officers.

VAi2 launched in spring of 2010 to identify, fund and test new ideas and
new tools that improve access, enhance quality, reduce costs and improve
Veteran satisfaction with VA services.  Visit
more information.

Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment VetSuccess services focus on
vocational and personal counseling to transitioning Service members and
eligible Veterans with service-connected disabilities. Services include
career counseling, education and training, financial aid, job
assistance, and medical and dental treatment. These rehabilitative
services are part of VA's commitment to a lifetime engagement with
Veterans and their families, from the time a Service member dons the
uniform through discharge, transition, and throughout civilian life.

More information about Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment
VetSuccess services is available from VA at
. Veterans applying for these benefits are
encouraged to use VA's web portal for online applications at

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Sean P Eagan

Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans
Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000