NEW ULM - Veterans outreach staff from U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar's office highlighted resources available to veterans and their families Wednesday at the New Ulm Community Center.
Participants learned about federal, state and local resources available from the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs and Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED.
Assistance programs include special needs grants for veterans, spouses, widows and widowers; income-specific optical and dental programs; and higher education representatives at school campuses.
"Veterans have priority service over universal clients," said Ron Kellen the Minnesota Department of Veterans Employment Services.
"We can help veterans of all ages. I recently helped a 76-year-old veteran who wanted to work. Veterans have some attributes most other people don't have," Keller said.
Brown County Veterans Services Officer Greg Peterson said he aided a homeless veteran last year in New Ulm who was sleeping in a tent near the river.
"I loaned him my sleeping bag for a while last fall," Peterson said. "He was initially very distrustful of public assistance. With the help of other veterans assistance offices, we got him six months of rent money before he got off veterans support. He now pays his own rent."
Peterson said he and other veterans assistance workers have great relationships with Minnesota politicians.
"It's Minnesota nice," Peterson said. "Sometimes even national politicians call my office asking for advice."
Minnesota Veterans Employment Services include connecting with veterans employment resources at a Workforce Center for translation of military to civilian skills, one-on-one skill assessment, career guidance, resume help, referral to veteran-friendly employment opportunities and monthly followup.
Minnesota Workforce Centers offer veterans no-fee services including resume/interview and career exploration classes and networking groups.
(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org).