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May 11, 2006

“Supermarket of Veterans’ Benefits” coming to Central Illinois on May 20
Springfield event to link Illinois veterans with important information about benefits, job opportunities

SPRINGFIELD – In another effort to further assist the state’s nearly one million veterans who have been left behind by the federal government, Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) Director Roy L. Dolgos today announced that the state will host another “Supermarket of Veterans’ Benefits” in the Capital City.

“Our Illinois veterans have been shortchanged by the federal government in regards to disability benefits for far too long. The ‘Supermarket of Veterans’ Benefits’ will inform veterans and their families of all the benefits they’re entitled to and have earned by fighting for our freedom. We especially want to reach the men and women who are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan,” Director Dolgos said.

IDVA will host the “Supermarket of Veterans’ Benefits” on May 20 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Illinois Building located on the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield. The one-stop-shop will provide information on the many services and benefits that every veteran is entitled to from scholarship programs to medical coverage. Information about job opportunities across the state will also be available.

Representatives from two unique programs will also be on hand to talk with those veterans looking to make a career change.  The Helmets to Hardhats Program assists former soldiers find job openings in the construction and building trade.  The program is designed to ease the difficult passage into civilian life for military families, providing the best career opportunities, pay, and benefits to those who have earned the nation’s support through their years of service and sacrifice

Troops-to-Teachers (TTT) provides referral assistance and placement services to military personnel interested in beginning a second career in public education as a public school teacher.  Through TTT, financial assistance may be provided to eligible individuals as stipends up to $5,000 to help pay for teacher certification costs or a $10,000 bonus to teach in low-income school districts.  Participants who accept the stipend or bonus are required to teach in a targeted school for three years.

“Last year, we held three Supermarkets across the state – one on Springfield, one in Chicago and one in DuQuoin.  The success and appreciation from those have prompted us to schedule more this year,” Director Dolgos added.

Officials from the following organizations and businesses will be on hand to talk with veterans and their families:

• U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs
• Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)
• American Legion
• Danville VA Medical Hospital
• Sangamon County Veterans Assistance Commission
• Secretary of State’s Office
• Attorney General’s Office
• Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS)
• Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS)
• Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES)
• Marine Bank
• Sam’s Club
• Vet Center
• Helmets to Hardhats
• Troops to Teachers
• MetLife
 Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA)



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