EDI: Puget Sound (August 2019)
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hosted the first Puget Sound Economic Development Initiative (EDI) Aug. 6–8, 2019 at the South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia, Washington, to help those who serve or have served in uniform find continued success in civilian life.
The EDI Initiative was a free, three-day event that connected Veterans, transitioning Service members and their families with health care, education, employment and benefits resources.
Event activities included:
- Townhall (Aug. 6): Raising awareness of key initiatives and addressing important concerns by facilitating conversations between leaders and the Veteran community.
- Claims/enrollment clinic (Aug. 6-7): Assisting transitioning Service members and Veterans to file claims for service-connected conditions.
- Benefits fair (Aug. 6-7): Helping Veterans find resources and register for the benefits and health care they have earned (VA representatives were on hand at the August 8 Job Fair for VA benefits and services assistance).
- Health services (Aug. 6-7): Providing onsite health evaluation, care and counseling.
- Workshops and presentations (Aug. 6-7): Covering topics such as education, housing, VA benefits and services, employment and health care.
- Job fair (Aug. 8): Connecting Veterans with 35+ employers, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Aviation Administration and companies from the Pacific Northwest.
The Puget Sound 2019 EDI is part of a larger Outreach, Transition and Economic Development (OTED) office initiative that focuses on select geographic regions containing large Veteran populations. At the last EDI in Puerto Rico, OTED successfully served more than 900 Veterans at a benefits and claims clinic; awarded $262,000 in retroactive benefits; connected attendees with 200 jobs; and repaired five Veterans’ homes damaged by Hurricane Maria.
Economic well-being for the Veteran community requires working side-by-side with partners across the government and private and non-profit sectors to create a local and national ecosystem that improves opportunities and fiscal sustainability for Veterans.