Adam Hollier takes the reins as MVAA director
Adam Hollier, a captain in the Army Reserve and former state senator, became director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) on Jan. 1.
Hollier was appointed to the top position of the state agency by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. He replaces Zaneta Adams, who served for three and a half years as director of the MVAA.
Hollier, who will talk about his plans for the agency in the coming weeks, is a lifelong Detroiter and a proud graduate of Detroit Public Schools. He earned a bachelor's degree in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University, where he played safety on the football team and was a decathlete, and also served as a volunteer firefighter in Ithaca, New York, while finishing his degree. He went on to earn a master's degree in urban planning from the University of Michigan.
The spirit of service is deeply instilled in Hollier, which led him to enlist in the U.S. Army. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant at Officer Candidate School in Fort Benning, Georgia, and currently serves as team chief and paratrooper in the 412th Civil Affairs Battalion, Army Reserve.
Hollier's journey of service has taken him around the country, including a stint as relief coordinator during Hurricane Katrina. He returned home and served in public service roles in the state Legislature and City of Detroit. He was instrumental in developing policies that protected senior citizens and facilitating the installation of 64,000 new lights to make Detroit neighborhoods safer.
He was elected to the state Senate in 2018, representing Wayne County's 2nd District, which includes Detroit, the Grosse Pointes, Hamtramck, Harper Woods and Highland Park. As senator, he secured funding and gained bipartisan support for critical programs including career readiness, business development, mentoring and education initiatives. He also championed greater voting access, licensing, tuition assistance and the expansion of state veterans' homes for service members and their families.
Hollier was named to Michigan Chronicle's 40 under 40 in 2013, Crain's 20 in their 20s in 2015 and the Michigan Chronicle Men of Excellence in 2021.
He lives in Detroit's North End with his wife and two children. He spends his spare time training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and woodworking.
Whitmer signs bill to create state-funded veterans cemetery
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently signed a bill will allow for the creation of a veterans cemetery in Michigan in either the counties of Crawford or Presque Isle, according to MLive. That cemetery would be designated and administered by the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
SB 971 was sponsored by Sen. Curt VanderWall, R-Ludington.
Michigan currently has two national veterans cemeteries located in the Southern Lower Peninsula – one at Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta and the other at Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly – though the cemetery detailed in VanderWall's bill would be Michigan's first state-funded veterans cemetery.
"As our population ages, and we see more and more veterans passing away, they should have the opportunity to have their final resting place that is close to their families while allowing them to be honored for their service by internment in a veteran cemetery," VanderWall said at a June 23 Senate Appropriations Committee meeting.
VBA to hire thousands of employees to speed up benefits claims processing
The Department of Veterans Affairs expects to keep growing its benefits division's workforce through the end of the fiscal year, now that it's able to tackle a trove of veterans' claims that's been growing since the summer, the Federal News Network is reporting.
The VA on Jan. 1 started processing all claims submitted under the PACT Act, which enables a historic expansion of eligibility for VA health care and benefits. To learn more about filing a claim under the PACT Act, visit the VA's website or call 1-800-698-2411 (TTY: 711).
The legislation, signed into law by President Joe Biden in August, is expected to bring an additional 3.5 million veterans into VA care.
Acting Undersecretary for Benefits Josh Jacobs told reporters in a late December briefing that the Veterans Benefits Administration is "actively working to hire more" employees through fiscal 2023.
Jacobs said VBA is using new PACT Act authorities and funding to hire an additional 1,900 employees in the first half of fiscal 2023. The agency, he added, has already completed onboarding steps for about 40% of its target workforce.
Judge says 3M can't escape liability in earplug lawsuits
A federal judge recently told 3M that it may not use "bad faith manipulation" to avoid its responsibility in a slew of cases against the multinational conglomerate for its allegedly defective earplugs.
In a sharply worded order issued on Dec. 22, U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers, the Pensacola, Florida-based judge where the nearly 250,000 lawsuits against 3M are being overseen, said the company deserved the "harshest penalty" for its effort to shift liability for hearing damage suffered by veterans to a subsidiary.
"3M purposely engaged in a nearly four-year campaign to establish itself as the sole responsible party for [earplug] claims, then abruptly reversed course when that narrative no longer suited its strategic objectives," Rodgers wrote.
According to the judge's order, 3M's recent move came after it already awarded nearly $300,000,000 to 13 plaintiffs over the course of 16 "bellwether trials."
Read the full story in Military Times.
Career exploration and job boards
It's a great time to search for a new job, but knowing where to start can be difficult. As our colleagues at Veterans' Employment Services point out, in addition to making real connections and networking, career exploration sites are a great starting point.
Pathfinder, Michigan's free, online career exploration tool, uses current labor market, wage and institutional data to help you create an individualized career roadmap.
This free tool provides information to help you make informed choices about your educational and career options. Create your roadmap at Pathfinder.MiTalent.org.
Another great resource for your job hunt is job boards. Job boards have changed substantially in the last few years and are more prevalent than ever. But some are better than others, especially for professional-level candidates.
We highly recommend you start with Pure Michigan Talent Connect (MiTalent.org), Michigan's labor exchange. Employers on the website go through a verification process and veterans receive first access to all jobs listed. Just create a free job seeker account and identify yourself as a veteran to get access to all jobs listed 24 hours before they are open to the public.
Some other recommended sites include:
- Zip Recruiter
- Career Builder
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