Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Michigan Veterans News & Resources for May 10, 2022

Michigan Veterans News

State grant will connect veterans with construction apprenticeships

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) awarded Helmets to Hardhats a $250,000 grant to support the Michigan Construction Apprenticeship post-Military Opportunity (MiCAMO) Program that will connect 225 veterans with Registered Apprenticeships in Michigan's construction industry.

The MiCAMO Program will provide training to help transitioning active-duty and retired military service members, National Guard, reservists and veterans with Registered Apprenticeship paths to in-demand, high-wage construction jobs.

Resulting employment from the MiCAMO Program will benefit veterans and the state. Veterans who participate will gain long-term economic security in high-demand, high-wage U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) Registered Apprenticeship Programs and improved access to GI Bill benefits for eligible veterans. Having skilled workers employed in the construction industry helps the state close current skills gaps and supports an important segment of the state's economy.

Registered Apprenticeships are industry-driven, high-quality career training programs in which employers develop and prepare Michigan's future workforce. Apprentices gain paid work experience, related classroom instruction and a national industry-recognized credential upon program completion. The programs help employers begin an immediate transfer of knowledge from current to future high value workers. Workers get a paycheck from day one while they build the right skills in a new career.

More information about Helmets for Hardhats is available at HelmetsToHardhats.org. To learn more about State Apprenticeship Expansion in Michigan, visit Michigan.gov/Apprenticeship.

VETERAN SERVICE ORGANIZATION SPOTLIGHT: Veterans of Foreign Wars – Department of Michigan


The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Department of Michigan is one of Michigan's leading veteran service organizations. Founded after the Spanish American War, the VFW has since led the fight for the passage of the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the creation of the VA, and alongside our partners in Michigan's Commanders Group, advocated for the creation of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency in 2013. Today the VFW hosts over 230 posts across the state, and the VFW's service officers continue to advocate for veterans and their families to access the benefits they earned through their service to our nation.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the VFW has been transforming itself to better serve Michigan's post 9/11 veterans and their families. After the withdrawal from Afghanistan in August of 2021, the VFW worked with the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans and Vietnam Veterans of America to host "Voices of Veterans" events across the state, bringing together veterans and their families to share their experiences and emotions about the withdrawal, and its parallels with Vietnam. In December, the organization came to the aid of Kentuckians struck by a tornado that ravaged their communities, donating goods and nearly $20,000 in aid. 

The VFW hosts the VFW Camp Trotter in Newaygo for 7- to 12-year-olds and is accepting applications now for the 2022 camping season. The organization also features the VFW National Home in Eaton Rapids. If you are a veteran or military family in need of housing and are trying to get your feet on the ground, please consider applying for free housing for up to four years. 

Veterans and their families come to the VFW to find camaraderie and a family like the ones they had in service. There are cornhole and pool tournaments, family picnics and barbeques, fundraisers and community activities. Most importantly, the VFW and its Auxiliary come together to represent and give honor to our veterans and our fallen by serving in honor guards at funerals, parades and ceremonies. For membership opportunities, visit Veterans of Foreign Wars or Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary.

VA's Make the Connection offers mental health resources

Mental Health Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and the VA has helpful resources and information through its Make the Connection initiative.

Make the Connection offers stories and videos and links to local support and treatment for many life events, conditions and experiences.

Whatever you may be struggling with – financial issues, PTSD, the effects of military sexual trauma, gambling or alcohol addiction – there are ways to address the issues and live well. Make the Connection offers resources for veterans, service members, their families and friends, and caregivers.

Veterans experiencing a mental health emergency can contact the Veteran Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and select option 1 for a VA staffer. You can also text 838255 or visit VeteransCrisisLine.net for assistance.

State of Michigan to host skilled trades career fair Thursday

The State of Michigan will hold a skilled trades career fair on Thursday, May 12, for those interested in working for the state.

There will be an in-person fair from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Horatio Earle Learning Center, 7575 Crowner Drive in Dimondale. Free parking is included and registration is encouraged at https://bit.ly/somstip. No need to dress up. There will be recruiters, Civil Service staff to help with applications and representatives from the MVAA who can print DD-214s for veterans who want to apply for veterans' preference.

There is also a virtual option from 3-7 p.m. Registration is required at https://bit.ly/somstvi.

For more information, contact MITradesCareers@michigan.gov

VA gives vets more response time because of mail delays

Some veterans have reported receiving confusing letters from the Department of Veterans Affairs regarding "a delay in receipt of mailed correspondence."

In the letters veterans are advised:

  • If they received a letter from the VA between July 13 and December 31, 2021 and responded to that letter, no further action is necessary.
  • If they received a letter from the VA which requested additional information, they will automatically be given an extra 90 days to respond or take action without any detrimental consequences.
  • If they received a letter from the VA, but did not respond or take action within the original time frame, they should contact the VA so that "corrective action" can be taken to reconsider any claim decisions. 
  • If they are unsure, or believe they should have received correspondence regarding a claim for benefits but did not, they are advised to contact the agency at 800-827-1000.

Normally, veterans who do not respond to the VA in a timely manner or attend a scheduled medical examination can see their benefits terminated, in some cases retroactively, causing them to owe large amounts of money to the government.

As a result of the current delays, VA is extending its normal response time limit by 90 days for most veterans benefits letters. Any veteran who was mailed an action letter from July 13, 2021, through the end of the year automatically will receive the 90-day extension. 

Read more in Military.com.

New MVAA employee shares journey to identifying as a woman veteran

Alyssa Feazel

Like many veterans before her, Alyssa Feazel felt joining the Army was her calling. She enlisted at 17 and had to wait until after graduating from high school before heading to basic training. She spent more than seven years as an Army medic before her career was cut short.

Feazel, a single parent of two young sons, would be forced out of the Army because of its involuntary separation due to parenthood policy.

"I was devastated," she says. "I wasn't ready to get out of the Army. I felt like I wasn't good enough to be in the Army anymore and because of that, I was embarrassed. I didn't want anyone to know I was a veteran."

Stationed in West Point in New York at the time, Feazel would move back to her hometown of Holt, Michigan, as a civilian. Her transition out of the military wasn't easy.

In 2019, Feazel was looking to run a 5K and happened to come across the MVAA's Women Veterans 5K in downtown Lansing. It was the first time she had heard of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency.

"When I heard Director Adams speak at the 5K, I remember thinking, 'Wow, there' s other women veterans who felt like I did,'" says Feazel. "These women didn't want to identify as veterans, they didn't fit in with male veterans or the VA. I had tears in my eyes. It was like someone finally understood how I felt."

Feazel decided she wanted to make a difference by helping other veterans who might have struggled in the transition to civilian life. Luckily, she stumbled across a job posting with the MVAA's Veteran Resource Service Center, the agency's 1-800-MICH-VET call center ...


Read Feazel's full story on michigan.gov/MVAA. And if you're a woman veteran looking to connect with other veterans, please join us June 10-11 in Lansing for the MVAA's Women Veterans Conference. Celebrate the 43,000+ women veterans across Michigan and learn about advocacy for yourself and your community. You'll build friendships and get connected to the benefits you earned. Register on Eventbrite.

MVAA's Women Veterans COnference

Veterans Crisis Line: Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1


The Veterans Crisis Line is staffed by caring, qualified crisis responders who are there to help. Many of these responders are veterans themselves.

Online Resources



Call 1-800-MICH-VET


Visit Michigan.gov/MVAA

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