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Building Communities of Partnerships in New England

Deputy Assistant Secretary Margarita Devlin and the DOL VETS staff smile as they enjoy a tour of the USS Constitution in Boston, Mass.
Deputy Assistant Secretary Margarita Devlin and the DOL VETS staff smile as they enjoy a tour of the USS Constitution in Boston, Mass.

Boston has many famous nicknames: “Beantown,” “City on the Hill,” “Cradle of Liberty,” and its most recent nickname: “Titletown,” given because of the countless championships its regional sports teams won in baseball, basketball, hockey, and of course, football. The “doing whatever it takes to succeed” mindset has spread from Rhode Island to Maine, with most of New England embracing the team mentality of working together.  

When the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Operations and Management, Margarita Devlin, visited the Boston Region Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service team, it was clear their sense of teamwork contributed immensely to their success. “The DOL VETS team is immersed in a collaborative mindset,” said Devlin, “they have accomplished  incredible  relationships with their community partners to provide support for veterans, transitioning service members, and their spouses within the Boston region.” 

During her trip, Devlin witnessed firsthand the positive impact of these partnerships as she toured  Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program grantees, the New England Center and Home for Veterans in Boston, Massachusetts and Harbor Care in Nashua,  New Hampshire. The Department of Labor Veterans’ Boston team works closely with these local veteran advocate groups to ensure veterans have the support they need to find stable employment. The grantees help provide stability to at-risk veterans  or veterans experiencing homelessness. Their renowned work draws  veterans from  across the country to find help in Boston after hearing about their services through a nationwide network.  

Beyond the beautiful historic landscape of Boston, the area is unique regarding how relationships are cultivated: loyalty runs deep throughout the region and the bonds that New Englanders build last a lifetime. In fact, 92 percent of the Boston VETS team are veterans, so they personally experienced the challenges of transitioning out of the service. They’ve committed to opening doors within their communities to give veterans better access to employment opportunities.   

One example is their work on veteran-specific apprenticeships with the North Atlantic States Carpenters Training Fund through Employment Navigator and Partnership Pilot partner Helmets to Hardhats. They are taking important steps to expand veteran access to Massachusetts’ registered union apprenticeship programs. Another employer, Raytheon, is also in their first year of an apprentice program for electricians, plumbers, and sprinkle fitters. Raytheon was one of 849 companies to be awarded the 2021 HIRE VETS Medallion Award by U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh to recognize employers’ effort to hire, retain and support veterans.    

It’s no surprise that the veteran support network is so strong, especially since the region’s military ties date back to when the “shot heard around the world” began the Revolutionary War. The USS Constitution, the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat, was built in Boston more than two centuries ago and serves as a fond reminder of the city’s rich military history. Devlin toured the USS Constitution and sat down with Secretary Cheryl Poppe and Director of Women Veterans Susan McDonough of the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services, as well as Commander Billie J. Farrell, the first female commanding officer of the USS Constitution to discuss issues impacting women veterans in the area.  

Whether it’s coordinating with the Boston area Veterans Affairs to host Off-Base Transition Training classes or working with state Departments of Veterans Services to identify employment gaps, the Boston Region Department of Labor Veteran Employment and Training Services team is committed to doing everything they can to ensure that veterans can enjoy long-term employment and a better quality of life. 

Commitment – just another example of why Boston is “The City of Champions.” 

 

Dana Kelly is a Communications Specialist for the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service at the U.S. Department of Labor. Follow VETS on Twitter at @VETS_DOL.  

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