Washington will begin building a peer-to-peer network for veterans support services, a plan that will include restructuring public employment hiring to benefit military personnel.
The program will launch after a bill introduced by Sen. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, was signed into law.
“It is critical that we make Washington a great place for veterans,” said Angel. “The military is a huge part of our communities across the state and we should honor their service with the highest care and support we can provide. Developing a network of support and helping veterans build new and happy lives after their service is a major priority for me. I want their transition into civilian life to be seamless.”
Angel’s bill, Senate Bill 5849, will build a support network based on the framework of a similar award-winning Texas program that connects veterans to services through a peer-to-peer network. The Washington Department of Veteran Affairs will now begin developing a peer-to-peer network that connects veterans with counseling, mental health and other health services.
The measure also directs the Office of Financial Management to create a veteran recruitment and hiring plan that recognizes and values the experience veterans offer. The goal is to align public employment hiring and recruitment policies with the skills offered by veterans.
“We want to keep veterans in our communities providing the skills, leadership and character they developed in service. They certainly deserve the very best quality of life we can assist with,” said Angel.
Washington is home to 598,000 veterans, 60,000 active duty, 19,000 guard and reserves, and 2 million family members.