Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

Veterans Corner

February 5, 2012

Program offers to turn veterans into federal contracting specialists

By Jim Vines | jim.helpingveterans@gmail.com

A special internship to prepare newly returned veterans to become federal contracting specialists was launched recently at the Acquisitions Academy of the Department of Veterans Affairs in Fredrick, Md. The VA understands the integrity and skills veterans have learned working together to accomplish difficult objectives.

Called “Warriors to Workforce,” the internship is a three-year program where participants will earn the 24 educational credits in business required to become contracting professionals. The program includes courses in leadership, technical acquisition training and on-the-job experience.

At graduation, participants will have taken the required coursework to achieve a Federal Acquisitions Certificate in Contracting, which is recognized throughout the federal sector as evidence of solid education in the career field. Successful graduates will be eligible for contract specialist positions at the GS-11 level. 

In the past two years, the government’s contracting force has shrunk, although the volume and complexity of contracts has increased. The VA opened its Acquisitions Academy in September 2008 in response to the growing shortage of contracting professionals, both for the VA and other federal agencies.

Twenty-three veterans are enrolled in the inaugural class of the “Warriors to Workforce” internship. Between them, they have seven Purple Hearts, two Bronze Stars and over 170 years of military experience. For more information go to www.acquisitionacademy.va.gov.

New newborn benefits

The Department of Veterans Affairs has published a regulation officially amending the VA’s medical benefits package for up to seven days of medical care for newborns delivered by women veterans who are receiving VA maternity care benefits. The regulation change makes formal the commitment the VA has made to women veterans. This falls in line with the broad range of services the VA is proud to offer women veterans who have served our country.

Newborn care includes routine post-delivery care and all other medically necessary services that are in accord with generally accepted standards of medical practice. The effective date of this rule is December 2011, but the regulation applies retroactively to newborn care provided to eligible women veterans on or after May 5, 2011. 

The VA has women veterans program managers at every medical center to help women veterans learn more about the health care benefits they have earned with their service. For more information go to www.womenshealth.va.gov.

Update

An article dated Sept. 4, 2010, titled “Veterans Drivers License Designation” informing veterans of the “veteran” designation being added to driver’s licenses, as soon as the Department of Public Safety developed software, is now available.

There are several stipulations involved in acquiring the veteran designation on the license. Disabled veterans who provide proof of service related disability of at least 60 percent will not be charged a fee for any driver license or identification card transaction. The veteran designation is not available on a Texas identification card at this time. 

Contact your local DPS office to get the information required before you visit them.

Speak to you again next week.

Jim Vines is commander of AmVets Post 133 in Mineral Wells.

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