Merkley, Wyden Announce Grants for Veterans Job Training

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Oregon’s Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced two grants from the Department of Labor that will assist

homeless veterans with job training for civilian careers. The grants, which were awarded on a competitive basis to state and local organizations, will go to Easter Seals in Portland and Central Oregon Veterans Outreach in Bend.

“This is great news for our Oregon veterans,” said Senator Jeff Merkley. “Servicemembers and their families have already made tremendous sacrifices over the last decade – it is unthinkable that they should be homeless and jobless when they return from service. Yet all too often, this is exactly what happens.  These grants will help Oregon veterans put their considerable skills to work and realize the success they deserve in civilian careers.”

“The struggles of our nation’s veterans facing homelessness and unemployment are only exacerbated in a recovering economy,” Wyden said. “Many need assistance transitioning out of military service and require job training and counseling services to help them readjust to civilian life. These grants will help Oregon’s veterans get back on their feet.”

Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have been disproportionately affected by the recession. According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report, the unemployment rate for veterans of the two wars was 13.3% in June 2011, as opposed to 9.0% for the general population. Many face homelessness, with the VA estimating that 107,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. In addition, finding a new job can be difficult, as civilian employers often do not understand the skills and experience that veterans have acquired during their years in service.

Details on the grants follow:





 Areas to be Served


Central Oregon Veterans Outreach



Central/Eastern Oregon


Easter Seals Oregon



Part of Portland, Salem,  Marion, Polk County