MICHIGAN VETERANS VISION

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1 MICHIGAN VETERANS VISION

2 The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation. George Washington

3 As a new agency, I believe it is critical to set a strategic direction to guide the agency into its inaugural five years. Michigan Veterans Vision provides the foundation upon which the MVAA will grow and progress. It was developed through a deliberate strategic planning process that included external stakeholders from the Michigan Veterans Coalition, Michigan Association of County Veterans Counselors, and other state departments that serve Michigan veterans. Three core themes emerged from the process: 1. There are several opportunities to improve the quality, coordination and delivery of veterans services. 2. The state must begin thinking strategically about future demands for specialized services, long-term care options and communications tactics to inform veterans of on-going changes in benefits eligibility. 3. Returning Post 9/11 veterans need to be recognized as an emerging talent supply for Michigan s economy, able to fill a variety of capacities from entry level to future boardroom. I am proud of the candor, enthusiasm, collaboration and commitment of the strategic planning workgroup throughout the process. Even though there were a variety of viewpoints and experiences represented, every discussion and debate came back to one principle: what is the best answer for Michigan s veterans? As a veteran, I am excited about Michigan s renewed commitment to our nearly 700,000 veterans. As the first Director of MVAA, I am honored to serve and will assemble and lead a team that is as dedicated to duty, honor and selfless service as the men and women we serve. Jeff Barnes Director Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency

4 MICHIGAN VETERANS AFFAIRS AGENCY DIRECTOR GENERAL COUNSEL SENIOR POLICY ADVISOR DEPUTY DIRECTOR SERVICE ADMINISTRATION DEPUTY DIRECTOR TARGETED INITIATIVES MICHIGAN VETERANS TRUST FUND DJ JACOBETTI HOME FOR VETERANS GRAND RAPIDS HOME FOR VETERANS STRATEGY EDUCATION EMPLOYMENT HEALTH CARE QUALITY OF LIFE STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS AND CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT TARGETED OUTREACH 2

5 MICHIGAN VETERANS AFFAIRS AGENCY MISSION To serve as the central coordinating point, connecting those who have served in the United States Armed Forces and their families, to services and benefits throughout the state of Michigan. VISION For Michigan to be the most veteran-friendly state, by: providing the advice and assistance veterans need as they transition through the chapters of their lives; creating a no wrong door customer service culture; and advocating for and on behalf of veterans and their families. VALUES Inclusion Seek collaborative solutions and results Integrity Always do the right thing Transparency Don t mislead or conceal Innovation Create and seek opportunities to demonstrate continuous improvement Respect Treat everyone as you would like to be treated LEADERSHIP PHILOSOPHY Be a problem solver Provide the customer service experience that veterans deserve Take ownership and pride in what you do Do not forget the service and sacrifice of those who served 3

6 GOAL 1: DEVELOP AND MAINTAIN A STRONG MICHIGAN VETERANS AFFAIRS AGENCY 1.1 Ensure all employees understand the mission, vision, and values of the MVAA and know how their responsibilities support Michigan veterans by September 30, 2014 Supervisors must engage all employees with mission, vision, and values at least twice. Every MVAA employee is essential to the achievement of Michigan Veterans Vision FY Employees are expected to be familiar with the plan and understand their role in achieving it. The mission, vision, and values should be well understood and able to be seen in action regularly. While supervisors are only required to engage with employees twice on the mission, vision, and values, they are encouraged to discuss them regularly and integrate them into everyday operations. Supervisors should use the mission, vision, and values in employee evaluations to ensure all employees are taking an active role in supporting the strategic plan. 1.2 Ensure all employees have the resources and training necessary to accomplish their job, annually by December 30th For MVAA employees to be successful, they need to have adequate training and the proper resources to accomplish their job. By making this a priority, MVAA is committing to the effectiveness and efficiency of its staff. As an agency, we are consistently working to attract and retain top talent and to provide staff with the resources and training needed to achieve success. 1.3 Create efficient core business processes by July 1, 2016 Chief of Staff will coordinate this effort. As a new agency, MVAA will need to establish core business processes to ensure efficient and effective systems are in place to address the new components of the agency, as well as the existing structures, such as the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund and the veterans homes. For the agency to be successful in its inaugural year it will need clear and consistent processes for purchasing and tracking, providing adequate information technology capabilities, and overall maintenance to ensure smooth business operations. 1.4 Develop a comprehensive infrastructure plan by July 1, 2016 Chief of Staff will accomplish this plan. With two aging veterans homes and many information technology (IT) management systems, it is imperative MVAA tracks its infrastructure needs. MVAA will develop a comprehensive infrastructure plan that will include an analysis of the state of current infrastructure and a projection of future need. The infrastructure plan will assist MVAA in evaluating and determining the needs for domiciliary care, long-term care, and even the potential need for additional homes. It will also provide MVAA a conduit by which to determine partnering with other agencies to provide assistance to the state s population of homeless veterans. Additionally, as technology progresses and the demands on the agency change, MVAA will assess the IT infrastructure capabilities to determine improvements that may be needed. 4

7 GOAL 2: IMPROVE COMMUNICATIONS 2.1 Improve connections with veterans and their families by August 30, 2016 Every employee is responsible for creating quality engagements. The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency believes in creating a no wrong door approach to engagements with veterans and their families. This means that no matter how the veteran or his or her family reaches the MVAA, we will assist them in finding the resources and assistance for which they were searching in a friendly and welcoming manner. If the resources or assistance are provided by another agency or organization, MVAA will provide a warm hand off to the partner agency/organization. This includes having relationships with partner agencies, introducing the veteran or family member directly to the partner, and following up to guarantee their needs were met. It is the responsibility of every employee to provide a warm and welcoming atmosphere. 2.2 Standardize veteran-related terms with stakeholders and partners by August 30, 2016 Director of Strategy will lead this effort. Currently, there are numerous different definitions of veteran. These numerous definitions lead to varying eligibility for benefits and resources and can be very confusing. While MVAA cannot mandate for all definitions to be the same, it can work with partners and stakeholders to develop a common definition of veteran, as well as a common lexicon to address other veteran-related terms and clarify where variances may exist. Additionally, MVAA will seek to clarify benefits available based upon the definition of veteran so they can be understood in a quick and easy fashion. 2.3 Improve dialogue and awareness between stakeholders/partners and the MVAA by December 31, 2014 Deputy Director will lead this effort. The MVAA will have constant lines of communication with state agencies and veterans service organizations. It is important the MVAA, other state agencies, and the veterans service organizations are using consistent messaging and operating in concert with one another. Additionally, this strategic plan was developed in conjunction with MVAA s partners, such as the Workforce Development Agency, Michigan Department of Community Health, Michigan Department of Human Services, Michigan Association of County Veterans Counselors, and the Michigan Veterans Coalition. MVAA will market the strategic plan and continue the collaborative process used in developing this plan. 2.4 Create a strategic communications plan for MVAA by July 1, 2014 Director of Communications will lead this effort. The Director of Strategic Communications and Customer Engagement will develop a comprehensive strategic communications plan. The plan will include identifying the various communication delivery methods, regional-specific message delivery, and establishing a social media strategy. The plan will provide a systematic way by which MVAA will direct its communications and marketing efforts. 5

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9 HOMEWARD BOUND: RETURNING VETERAN TALENT IS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR MICHIGAN S FUTURE As this strategic plan goes to print, operations in Afghanistan are gradually drawing down and federal discussions have indicated a sizeable restructure of the Armed Forces will occur in the next 3-5 years. Many service members are expected to transition from the military to begin the next chapter of their lives. For Michigan, this means that tens of thousands of highly skilled, trainable and job-ready veterans will be looking for their next opportunity. The national competition for veteran talent is an area where Michigan can improve. Utilization of veteran benefits such as healthcare, pension and the Post 9/11 GI Bill are significantly lower here than states with similar demographics, and Michigan s veteran unemployment rate has been higher than the national average over much of the past decade. Michigan s time to begin thinking strategically about how to best facilitate the transition from military to civilian life is now. Three areas of focus are: 1. Improving dialogue between veteran talent supply and demand The two most commonly cited deficiencies by employers are translation of military skills and experience, and the ability to connect with veterans seeking employment. Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency will work with partners such as Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Workforce Development Agency, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve and others to leverage technology and resources to reduce this barrier. Growing the number of apprenticeship and internship experiences for veterans will give them opportunities to gain exposure to new opportunities where they can excel as well as give employers opportunities to identify the best fit for their organization. 2. Identifying areas where military training and experience will reduce transition time into a similar civilian occupation Licensing and credentialing reform allows for a quicker transition to the civilian workforce. Course credit for pertinent military training at Michigan s academic institutions allows veterans to complete their degrees and enter the workforce more quickly. 3. Increasing awareness of the resources available for employers to recruit and hire vets This is an area where many programs exist, but it is confusing and time-consuming for veterans and employers to identify what for which they qualify. Simplifying the transaction for both will increase utilization and produce the outcome we desire: more Michigan veterans employed. Michigan should become a destination for transitioning veterans. The state has premiere academic institutions, strong and affordable housing stock, a variety of career opportunities and an outstanding quality of life. It is imperative that public and private leaders recognize the opportunity that emerging veteran talent could bring to Michigan an impact last seen following World War II, when veterans from that experience brought talent, energy and innovation back to Michigan that helped fuel an era of growth. Michigan s reinvention will be greatly impacted by our ability to connect that innovative veteran talent with employers that recognize how to best leverage it into their business plans.

10 GOAL 3: IMPROVE AND ENHANCE VETERANS SERVICE DELIVERY 3.1 Increase access to accredited service officers and county counselors by December 31, 2014 Director of Targeted Outreach will coordinate this effort. Access to accredited service officers and county counselors to submit claims for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs benefits varies greatly by area. In some areas, access is limited or not readily available at the times needed. MVAA will evaluate the ratio of veterans to veterans service officers hours and determine acceptable levels for all regions. Additionally, the radial distance to the nearest veterans service officer will also be assessed to ensure that veterans have adequate access based on time and location. 3.2 Standardize the claims submission process and management system by July 1, 2015 Director of Targeted Outreach will coordinate this effort. Accountability between MVAA and its partners will be provided by standardizing the claims submission and management system. Efforts will be taken to use a standard system to minimize disparities in service and maximize effectiveness. Having a standardized process and system allows for enhanced relationships and support, and opens the door to pursuing cross-accreditation. By maintaining accountability, Michigan will be a leader in the submission of fully developed claims and will be able to provide exceptional customer service. 3.3 Remove barriers for veterans and their dependents in healthcare, education, employment, and quality of life by August 30, 2016 Director of Strategy will coordinate this effort. There are a variety of barriers for veterans and their dependents in regard to obtaining and maintaining adequate healthcare, employment, education, and other quality of life needs. MVAA will lead the charge, working with stakeholders, to identify and evaluate the barriers that currently exist and develop and execute plans to eliminate those barriers. For example, in respect to healthcare, some misconceptions exist regarding services available to veterans. This results in veterans being turned away from receiving health services for which they have a critical need. In employment, some veterans experience difficulty in translating their military skills into terms that are easy for civilian employers to understand, which may lead to their resume being overlooked or an interview turning out poorly. 3.4 Create a centralized information portal for veterans, dependents, team members, and stakeholders by April 30, 2014 Director of Communications will lead this effort. MVAA is establishing a centralized information portal for veterans, dependents, team members, and stakeholders that will provide a one-stop shop for veterans services and information. The portal will alleviate concerns of conflicting information and provide real-time access to needed resources. It will provide information for veterans regarding employment, education, healthcare, and quality of life items, such as housing and emergency assistance grants. It will also provide information to stakeholders, such as employers wanting to hire veterans and colleges and universities looking for best practices for retaining veteran students. 8

11 GOAL 4: ENHANCE INTERAGENCY COLLABORATION AND LEVERAGE PARTNERSHIPS 4.1 Expand memoranda of understanding/agreement with county/state agencies and partners for more effective veteran support by April 30, 2016 MVAA Deputy Directors will coordinate this action. While some memoranda of understanding/agreement (MOUs/MOAs) exist, there is a need for MVAA to expand some of those MOUs/MOAs to address the new, larger mission of the MVAA and to develop additional MOUs/MOAs where none currently exist. Possible opportunities for MOUs/MOAs include pursuing cross-accreditation with the Michigan Association of County Veterans Counselors and other joint initiatives between state agencies. 4.2 Facilitate opportunities for education and collaboration of veterans services by public and private organizations, annually by September 1 Deputy Director will coordinate this action. Overall, many organizations and partners are unaware of the services and resources available to veterans and their families which are provided by entities other than their own. By collaborating and educating one another on these services, Michigan can provide a more thorough and positive experience for the veteran. Working within the defined service regions, as well as within MVAA s four main focus areas (Employment, Education, Healthcare, and Quality of Life), MVAA will conduct forums and information sharing sessions for providers to learn about other resources and services available in their areas, discover areas in which to partner, and identify gaps. This comprehensive approach will create opportunities for Michigan to demonstrate best practices and attract additional resources. 4.3 Create and implement veteran-friendly gold standards for employers, educational institutions, and service providers by November 11, 2016 Director of Strategy will establish this process. Numerous employers, educational institutions, and service providers are already doing an exemplary job in meeting the needs of our veterans. These organizations should be recognized for their outstanding service, and veterans should know what organizations they can trust. By developing and implementing voluntary bronze, silver, and gold standards for employers and educational institutions, veterans can identify places they may want to work or go to school that are committed to the well-being of the veteran. Employers and educational institutions can provide better support to their veteran employees or students and attract top veteran talent to their organizations by achieving the standards. Similarly, by having a recognized standard for service organizations, veterans will be able to identify organizations they can trust and from which they can receive a positive experience. 9

12 COORDINATING SERVICES TO IMPROVE THE VETERAN CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE In January 2013, Governor Rick Snyder signed Executive Order , creating the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency to serve as a centralized, coordinating unit for state government, connecting veterans to the services and benefits they have earned. Building on the state s long history of working with the Michigan Veterans Coalition and the Michigan Association of County Veterans Counselors, our goal is to create an atmosphere of collaboration and partnership between stakeholders to better serve veterans. Our strategic planning process involved a cross-section of stakeholders, including representatives from the Michigan Veterans Coalition and the Michigan Association of County Veterans Counselors, as well as Workforce Development, the Department of Community Health and the Department of Human Services. In the fall of 2013, MVAA began taking steps to align veterans services to the Governor s 10 Prosperity Regions. This allows veterans services to be aligned with other state departments and agencies, making it easier to coordinate employment, physical and behavioral health, and other services. The agency also launched community pilots in the Grand Rapids and Detroit areas to assess the availability of veterans services in these regions from both government and private organizations, create a coordinated service delivery model and develop a comprehensive communications plan to raise awareness of available services. The intended outcome is to reduce duplication of efforts, identify solutions for gaps in veteran services and make it easier for veterans to connect to the opportunities for which they are eligible. This will improve access, increase utilization and make veterans experiences with local, state and federal government entities more efficient, positive and productive. Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency Strategic Planning Team

13 MICHIGAN PROSPERITY REGIONS KEWEENAW HOUGHTON GOGEBIC ONTONAGON A IRON BARAGA DICKINSON MARQUETTE ALGER 1 B DELTA LUCE C CHIPPEWA MACKINAC 1. Upper Peninsula Prosperity Alliance 1a. Western UP Prosperity Region 1b. Central UP Prosperity Region 1c. Eastern UP Prosperity Region 2. Northwest Prosperity Region 3. Northeast Prosperity Region 4. West Michigan Prosperity Alliance 4a. West Central Prosperity Region 4b. West Michigan Prosperity Region 5. East Central Michigan Prosperity Region 6. East Michigan Prosperity Region 7. South Central Prosperity Region 8. Southwest Prosperity Region 9. Southeast Michigan Prosperity Region 10. Detroit Metro Prosperity Region Service Delivery Region MENOMINEE LEELANAU BENZIE MANISTEE B GRAND TRAVERSE WEXFORD A EMMET CHARLEVOIX ANTRIM KALKASKA MISSAUKEE CHEBOYGAN OTSEGO ROSCOMMON 7 3 MASON LAKE OSCEOLA CLARE GLADWIN OCEANA BERRIEN MUSKEGON OTTAWA NEWAYGO ALLEGAN VAN BUREN KENT MECOSTA MONTCALM BARRY IONIA EATON GRATIOT CLINTON MIDLAND 9 PRESQUE ISLE MONTMORENCY OSCODA OGEMAW 5 SAGINAW SHIAWASSEE ARENAC LIVINGSTON ALPENA ALCONA IOSCO GENESEE TUSCOLA 10 6 LAPEER JACKSON KALAMAZOO CALHOUN WAYNE WASHTENAW CASS ST. JOSEPH BRANCH ISABELLA CRAWFORD HILLSDALE INGHAM BAY LENAWEE MONROE OAKLAND HURON SANILAC MACOMB ST. CLAIR

14 GOAL 5: DEFINE AND PROMOTE VETERANS THROUGH LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS 5.1 Develop and maintain a legislative agenda annually, by November 30th Senior Policy Advisor will coordinate this effort. The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency will maintain a current legislative agenda. This will allow MVAA to work together with the Legislature for the betterment of veterans. The agenda will align with the strategic plan and the priorities of the agency. 5.2 Ensure MVAA activities are aligned with the Governor s regional service model by December 31, 2014 Deputy Directors will coordinate this effort. The Governor s regional service model consists of ten prosperity regions (see map). MVAA will realign all activities to meet the Governor s regional model. This will allow MVAA to operate in accordance with the same regional model other agencies in the state will be using. Additionally, it will provide MVAA with a method by which to organize its activities to achieve a comprehensive approach to services. 5.3 Sponsor and promote an annual legislative conference to develop priorities and educate legislators, by June 30th every year Chief of Staff will coordinate this effort. By working with Michigan legislators, the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency can provide a more thorough understanding of its strategic priorities. With term limits and a reduction in the number of veterans in the Legislature, it is important to provide continuing education on veterans priorities. The annual conference will provide opportunities for education and coordination to introduce comprehensive legislation for Michigan s veterans, in concert with MVAA partners. 12

15 STRATEGIC PLANNING TEAM The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency collaboratively developed this plan with partners from the Workforce Development Agency (WDA), Michigan Department of Community Health (DCH), Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS), Michigan Association of County Veterans Counselors (MACVC), and the Michigan Veterans Coalition (MVC). All planning team members were invaluable in their participation and support of this plan. Jeff Barnes MVAA, Director Jim Dunn MVAA, Deputy Director Jason Allen MVAA, Sr Policy Advisor Patty Russ MVAA, Chief of Staff Kristina Leonardi MVAA, Strategy Suzanne Thelen MVAA, Communications Brad Slagle Administrator, DJ Jacobetti Home for Veterans Christine Quinn WDA, Director Michele Walker WDA Representative Doug Wells MVC Representative, Disabled American Veterans Rob Price MVAA, Mobile Outreach Anne-Marie Dutcher MVAA, Veterans Trust Fund Phil Yeiter Americorps, Program Director Sara Dunne Administrator, Grand Rapids Home for Veterans Lynda Zeller DCH, Deputy Director Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Administration Bill Hardiman DHS, Director of Inter-Agency Collaboration and Reengineering Pat Lafferty MVC Representative, American Legion Garth Wooten MACVC, President Kaitlyn Longoria DCH, Recorder Berri Meyers DMVA, Facilitator 13

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17 MICHIGAN VETERANS HOMES WHERE VALOR LIVES For almost 130 years, Michigan has provided a place veterans can call home where they can engage with other veterans in numerous daily activities under the care of compassionate and highly skilled health care providers. Following the Civil War, Michigan established the first of two homes to care for aging veterans and war widows. First named The Old Soldiers Home, the facility on that site is now a modern and lively home to more than 400 members and has been renamed the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. Michigan s second veterans home, the Dominic J. Jacobetti Home in Marquette, opened its doors to almost 200 veterans living in the Upper Peninsula in the 1980s. Both the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans and the D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans are USDVA certified skilled nursing programs offering compassionate and quality care in an environment that promotes meaningful quality of life for their residents. Both homes offer domiciliary and nursing care programs, including specialized care to address Alzheimer s disease and other needs. In addition, residents have numerous opportunities to participate in spiritual, social, recreational and educational activities, both on-site and in the surrounding communities, on a daily basis. Each home offers modern living facilities, around-the-clock nursing, nutritional meals and numerous activities such as horticulture programs in onsite green houses and potting sheds, ceramics and art classes, outdoor activities such as fishing, hunting and archery, and multiple places to socialize or reflect quietly. The Grand Rapids Home even has a three lane bowling alley in the basement! The unique composition of the homes more than 90% male and 100% veteran is why residents of the homes refer to themselves as members. Walking through the homes and talking with members, you will see and hear the fraternity of soldiers as their different life experiences blend in the common bond of military service. Currently, the population in the Jacobetti Home is comprised primarily of World War II and Korean Conflict veterans. While the Grand Rapids Home also houses this population, the majority of the members there are from the Vietnam era. Each wartime era produces a set of challenges unique to that veteran population, and Michigan s two homes continue to adapt their programs and services to reflect those changes. As we look forward for the next five years, MVAA will prepare for emerging needs. Among those, MVAA predicts increased demand to accommodate military spouses as we see the impacts of recent economic hard times on some members of our elder veteran population. MVAA is also preparing for veterans of the Gulf War to begin entering our facilities. These veterans are not only used to a different quality of life than vets who are their father s and grandfather s age, especially when it comes to privacy and the use of electronic devices, they are also returning home from their conflict having survived wounds that might have killed soldiers in prior wars. In addition, these veterans are returning with higher incidents of traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress, which will require changes in how we house and care for our members. As the needs and demographics of our state s veteran population have changed over time, the homes have adapted to meet those demands, and they will continue to do so, now and into the future. When the next generation of veterans needs services, we will be ready.

18 MICHIGAN VETERANS AFFAIRS AGENCY SUCCESS MATRIX SUCCESS MATRIX FY14 FY15 FY16 FY17 FY Ensure all employees understand the mission, vision, and values of the MVAA and know how their responsibilities support Michigan veterans Ensure all employees have the resources and training necessary to accomplish their job Create efficient core business processes Develop a comprehensive infrastructure plan Improve connections with veterans and their families Standardize veteran-related terms with stakeholders and partners Improve dialogue and awareness between stakeholders/partners and the MVAA Create a strategic communications plan for MVAA Increase access to accredited service officers and county counselors Standardize the claims submission process and management system Remove barriers for veterans and their dependents in healthcare, education, employment, and quality of life Create a centralized information portal for veterans, dependents, team members, and stakeholders Expand memoranda of understanding/agreement with county/state agencies and partners for more effective veteran support Facilitate opportunities for education and collaboration of veterans services by public and private organizations Create and implement veteran-friendly gold standards for employers, educational institutions, and service providers Develop and maintain a legislative agenda Ensure MVAA activities are aligned with the Governor s regional service model Sponsor and promote an annual legislative conference to develop priorities and educate legislators 16 To follow MVAA s progress on meeting objectives, visit michigan.gov/veterans.

19 Serving those who served

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