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Honoring Those Who Serve

Posted on July 17, 2013 at 11:42 AM
Categories: Military Servicemembers, Veterans

National Guard Honor Guard

Photo Credit: Minnesota National Guard. 

Providing military funerals is one way we show our gratitude to those who, in times of war and peace, have faithfully defended our country. This year, Governor Mark Dayton and the legislature provided new funding for the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs’ funeral honor guard.

In recent years, funding for the honor guard has wavered. In 2011, the guard wasn’t funded and was only continued by shifting resources from other Veterans Affairs’ resources. Veterans regularly cite the funeral honor guard as one of the top benefits of military service making continued support for this program all the more essential.


Veteran Career Fair Reminder

Posted on July 15, 2013 at 1:53 PM
Categories: Veterans

Governor Mark Dayton proclaimed July to be “Hire a Veteran Month.”  Throughout the month, the Governor is encouraging Minnesota employers to hire veterans, connect military service members with job opportunities, and consider rededicating their efforts to hiring veterans in all twelve months of the year.

The Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is holding a job fair to help connect veterans and employers. More than 1,000 former and current military members and approximately 100 Minnesota businesses with job opportunities are expected to participate.

Minnesota Veteran Career Fair 

When: Tuesday, July 16

Time: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Where:  Earl Brown Heritage Center
             6155 Earle Brown Drive
             Brooklyn Center, MN


Vets Reps Link Former Marine to Milltronics

Posted on July 15, 2013 at 1:26 PM
Categories: Veterans

Chantharang Phouapradit, formerly a corporal and diesel mechanic in the U.S. Marine Corps., began looking for work after earning a bachelor’s degree in manufacturing engineering. With job search assistance from Tim Labeau, Mark Mann, Dave Wold, and Grant Heino, all veterans employment reps at Minnesota WorkForce Centers (WFCs), he landed a job at Milltronics –Liberty Diversified International as a manufacturing engineer.

“Tim, Mark, Dave and Grant were a great help to me in getting employed,” he said.

They kept his attitude positive and gave him advice on many types of issues, he noted. Veterans employment reps connect veterans with other non-job related services that are available for veterans.

The vets reps provided links to the company that hired Phouapradit, helping him land two interviews that led to the job offer. He was notified of the vacancy by Mann. Both Heino and Mann later advocated for him as the ideal job candidate at meetings with Milltronics hiring managers. Vets reps such as Mann and Heino have strong ties with specific employers in the area, making it easier for job applicants to get their resumes in front of hiring managers.

Labeau and Wold provided Phouapradit coaching on interviewing and resume writing, and he had several practice interviews with them.

Phouapradit also attended veterans networking groups at the WFCs in Blaine and Brooklyn Park, where he heard from employers about hiring processes, learned job search techniques and shared tips on applying for employment with other veterans. Vets reps facilitate veterans networking groups, which are held at WFCs statewide.

Prior to Phouapradit’s successful job search, he received assistance from a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs program that he used for his college education.
For more information about veterans employment services, click here.

This post originally appeared in the DEED Developments Blog.


Aiding the Afflicted: Supporting Military Families during Periods of Grief

Posted on July 10, 2013 at 10:43 AM
Categories: Military Servicemembers, Veterans

Our military families are strong and resilient, but sometimes their strength may cause us to overlook their sacrifice. Minnesota’s service members and military families endure for us all, which is why Governor Dayton remains committed to ensuring they are never forgotten.

In 1917, George Seibold was killed flying with the 148th U. S. Aero Squadron over Europe. His mother, Grace Darling Seibold, was stricken with grief. Rather than allowing her pain to become destructive, Grace founded the Gold Star program to support other mothers whose sons had lost their lives in military service. Eventually, this group of mothers met not to only comfort each other, but also to lavish loving care to hospitalized veterans confined in government hospitals far from home.

Today, the program comforts all relatives of men and women killed in action. Each summer, these military families are able to spend a weekend at Camp Ripley in Little Falls to honor, remember, and celebrate the heroism and lives of their loved ones. 

The retreat has grown each year from 70 attendees in 2008 to 180 in 2012. And each year there are family members who attend for the first time, even though the loss of their service member may have occurred long ago. 


Vets Networking Group Provides Tremendous Boost

Posted on July 08, 2013 at 8:00 AM
Categories: Jobs, Veterans

Denny Christiansen
Denny Christiansen, a veteran of the U.S. Army
This post originally appeared on the Minnesota Department of Economic Development DEED Developments Blog on July 8, 2013.     

Dennis “Denny” Christiansen, a veteran of the U.S. Army, needed help finding work, so he turned to the Minnesota WorkForce Center in Brooklyn Park to learn job search skills.  And it paid off. In June, he began a new job as a mental health practitioner at Nystrom & Associates in New Brighton.  Christiansen found out about the job opening through a connection with veterans employment services reps at the WorkForce Center.

Christiansen has extensive experience in the human services field, and had been an enlisted assistant to the drug abuse officer for the 1st Armored Division in Germany. But all that wasn’t enough to land him a good job. That’s why he began regularly attending a veterans networking group meeting held weekly.

“I can’t recommend it enough,” he says. “Being with other veterans gave me a tremendous boost.”

One area that Christiansen focused on was interviewing.  He hadn’t been on a job interview for a long time and needed to brush up on techniques, especially how to answer behavioral questions, according to vets rep. Mark Mann.  Christiansen received coaching on answering interview questions and had mock interviews.


Supporting Minnesota Veterans and Families

Posted on July 05, 2013 at 10:00 AM
Categories: Veterans

Minnesota is home to nearly 400,000 veterans and Governor Mark Dayton is committed to honoring the service and sacrifice of each one. This year, the Governor and the DFL legislature focused on increasing access to:

  • Jobs and education
  • Safe, secure housing
  • Meaningful community support

Access to Jobs and Education

Governor Dayton’s budget increases access to good job opportunities and affordable education to help our veterans successfully transition into civilian life. To help Minnesota veterans find employment, the new budget includes new tax credits to encourage businesses to hire disabled or unemployed veterans. And to better support small businesses owned by veterans, legislation passed that allows local governments to offer bid preferences to veteran-owned businesses.

The new state budget also helps veterans interested in getting additional education. Improvements to the Minnesota GI Bill will help all veterans and the families of those killed in the line of duty attend colleges and universities.

Safe, secure housing

A 2009 study confirmed that Minnesota has hundreds of homeless veterans. The Governor’s budget increases funding for the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MCAV) to ensure that Minnesota veterans have access to safe and secure housing. The MCAV assists homeless veterans and those in danger of becoming homeless.

Veterans’ homes are critical to addressing homelessness as well. The budget allocates $20.4 million to create 93 permanent rental housing units for veterans who have experienced homelessness. Additionally, it funds improvements for the Minneapolis, Fergus Falls, Silver Bay, and Luverne veterans’ homes.


Minnesota GI Bill Expansion

Posted on July 03, 2013 at 10:05 AM
Categories: Veterans

More Minnesotans are now eligible for the Minnesota G.I. Bill.

This post originally appeared in the Minnesota Department of Veteran Affairs blog.

Governor Mark Dayton and the Minnesota State Legislature voted to expand the Minnesota GI Bill to include more Veterans. Previously only Veterans who served after September 11, 2001 were eligible for the Minnesota GI Bill, which supplements other Veteran education programs. Now, under the new law any Veteran under age of 62 who has served honorably in any branch of the armed forces during any time period may be eligible. 

“This is important because the program will now assist the Veterans who need it the most,” said David Bellefeuille, director of the Higher Education Veterans Programs for the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs.  Many pre-9/11 Veterans have either used all their federal education benefits, or they have expired. The enhancements to this program will now assist all Minnesotan Veterans with long-term employment opportunities. The plan starts with education and financial assistance to help Veterans, who have served and sacrificed for this country, achieve their goals.  

 “The enhancements to the Minnesota GI Bill will provide a much broader audience the opportunity to gain an education and get back to work,” said Bellefeuille.  “This also opens doors for Veterans who need certifications or who need to return to school for their current positions.”


July is “Hire a Veteran Month”

Posted on July 02, 2013 at 1:19 PM
Categories: Veterans

Hire MN Veterans

Today, Governor Mark Dayton proclaimed July to be “Hire a Veteran Month.”  Throughout the month, the Governor is encouraging Minnesota employers to hire veterans, connect military service members with job opportunities, and consider rededicating their efforts to hiring veterans in all twelve months of the year.

Minnesota has already made great efforts to help veterans find work and utilize their skills after they leave the military. Many of our businesses already know that veterans make great employees because of their education, leadership, maturity, and dedication. 

Later this month, the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) will be holding a job fair to help connect veterans and employers. More than 1,000 former and current military members and approximately 100 Minnesota businesses with job opportunities are expected to participate.


Minnesota Department of Veteran Affairs Launches New and Improved Website Design

Posted on June 12, 2013 at 8:00 AM
Categories: Veterans, Military Servicemembers

Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs unveiled a newly redesigned website       

Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs unveiled a newly redesigned website.

In our continuing effort to be in the forefront of providing the best service and care to our state’s Veterans, the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs unveiled a newly redesigned website. Nearly 370,000 Veterans call Minnesota home and they can now access information through this comprehensive and exciting new resource at

Partnering with Roseville Based consulting firm, High Monkey, MDVA created a clear and user friendly website that offers assistance with requesting discharge papers, resources on employment, health & disability, burials, information on the five State Veterans Home, the GI Bill, and other legislative developments.

“This website provides a vibrant, seamless view of our department and the resources available to Minnesota Veterans. This is just another example of how we’re committed to making Minnesota Government better for Veterans who served, as well as those who continue to serve. The end result of our new MDVA website was based largely on feedback from our stakeholders - the Veterans we serve - alongside extensive research and testing that has brought us to this unveiling,” said Larry Shellito, MDVA Commissioner.

The new website also features a “State Veteran Homes” section that provides information about the five state Veteran Homes that provide nursing care and domiciliary services. This section includes virtual tours, services offered, admission details, facility history, and how families can get involved.

The improved website will be accessible by using the URL of and the official state website address

Budget for a Better Minnesota: Helping Veterans Succeed

Posted on February 14, 2013 at 8:00 AM
Categories: Budget, Veterans, Economy, Education

Budget for a Better MN: Helping Veterans Succeed 

Nearly 400,000 veterans call Minnesota home. Their commitment to service and their personal sacrifices have earned them the right to education, opportunities, and benefits.

Governor Dayton’s budget seeks to underscore the service these men and women have given to our country and our state through GI Bill expansion, increased veteran services funding to secure benefits, Honor Guard preservation, and Health Care IT infrastructure improvements to raise the quality of care for our veterans to the highest degree.

The men and women of our armed forced have invaluable skills, skills the state of Minnesota looks to preserve and foster. The funds allocated in the budget invest in our veterans, help create a better Minnesota, and help veterans succeed.

» $1 Million to Expand the Minnesota GI Bill. The Governor’s budget expands the Minnesota GI Bill program to all generations of veterans, not just those serving on or after 9/11. This expansion will ensure all Minnesota veterans have access to the education and training they need to get good paying jobs.

» $1 Million for County Veteran Service Office Grants. The Governor’s budget provides increased grant funding for County Veteran Services Offices, which help veterans and their families obtain benefits and services earned through military service.

» $5 Million for Health Care IT Improvement. The Governor’s budget invests in IT infrastructure upgrades at the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs. This investment will allow the department to achieve industry standards in delivering high-quality health care to Minnesota veterans and ensure their safety.

» $400,000 for Honor Guards. The Governor’s budget includes $400,000 in permanent funding for the Honor Guard Program, which supports veterans and their families by providing military burial honors earned through their service and sacrifice. Governor Dayton is committed to ensuring all veterans who request funeral honors receive them. 
» $200,000 for the Gold Star Program. The Governor’s budget includes $200,000 in permanent funding for the Gold Star Program, which supports the families of those service members who lost their lives in combat as they heal from their loss.

» $425,000 for new State Veterans Cemetery in Fillmore County. The Governor’s budget includes start-up and ongoing funding for a new state veterans cemetery in Fillmore County, opening in 2015. This State Veterans Cemetery will provide burial space for nearly 40,000 veterans. Governor Dayton believes every veteran deserves a dignified final resting place.


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