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What sets Code Platoon apart from other coding bootcamps?

As a coding boot camp, Code Platoon seeks to provide more than just basic training on software programming for its students. We want to provide the best possible coding boot camp experience a veteran, service member, or military spouse can have, bar none.

That way, the veterans we serve have an option that is not only custom-fit to their demographics, but also the superior choice for admissible applicants in every category.

Here’s what Code Platoon provides its students in addition to the fundamental coding education that sets us apart from other coding boot camps.

We help you land the job through career services

We understand that the vast majority of our students attend a coding boot camp because they want to start a new career in coding. The career services we offer assure that we take our graduates the extra mile and guarantee they have everything they need to land the job in addition to the technical training.

Apprenticeships

This is a linchpin of our In Person program. Roughly 70% of our graduates get placed directly into a paid internship, which most of the time leads to a full-time job offer at the same company. 

Even with those students for whom the apprenticeship is a short-term relationship, they now have specific job experience on their resume, which improves future job prospects. The first coding job is by far the hardest to get, and our apprenticeship program alleviates it.

LinkedIn prep

To get a job, you need to develop your ‘personal brand.’ LinkedIn is the primary platform to display your professional brand, and we spend many hours with our students getting this right. We provide students with examples of successful profiles and offer feedback as they develop their own so they can have the digital presence required to look like a pro on day one.

Resume prep and coaching

Most veterans don’t know how to translate what they did in the service into terms that employers will value. Knowing this in advance, we help do it alongside them. 

Whether it’s for the resume, LinkedIn, or the interview, we help students communicate their military skills without the defense jargon that civilians won’t understand. In its place, students add the relevant civilian terminology needed to get the attention of resume-scanning software, HR professionals, and ultimately the hiring managers.

Interview prep

Interviewing for software roles is different than most other types of interviews because they can get highly technical. Interviewers may even ask an interviewee to solve a coding challenge on a whiteboard or ask technical fact-based questions. Since these challenges are solved live and will throw off even an experienced coder with on-the-spot pressure, the only solutions are preparation and practice.

We help students prepare for all of the different types of interviews, down to the soft skills, professionalism, and confidence that potential employers in the tech industry are looking for.

We train and certify advanced academics beyond just coding

Cutting edge curriculum

The technology landscape changes frequently. We teach timeless fundamentals, but we are also laser-focused on teaching the tools that are in demand. That is why we currently teach Python and Javascript and React.js. 

We are an Amazon Web Services Training Academy and prepare students for the AWS Cloud Practitioner Certification

A tremendous amount of development now happens in the cloud. AWS is the leading cloud services provider. Certification on the AWS platform is well regarded and in demand, so whether your employer is going to use it or not, it’s a major bonus on your resume.

That’s not even to mention that it will make your job much easier if you do end up using this popular platform!

SAFe Agile Certification

Agile management is how modern teams work. This certification introduces you to the fundamentals of Agile management. You won’t just have the coding skills to do the technical side; you’ll have the project and task management insights that will make you an asset to your team and a rock star on your resume.

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Katherine Restko, Alumni of the Month, August 2019

Katherine Restko served in the U.S. Army for five years as a crypto linguist. She has a graduate degree in studio art, but after leaving the military, she decided to go down a different professional path. Katherine started searching for coding bootcamps to help her become a developer. Katherine was initially skeptical because of the reputation some bootcamps have as being content mills rather than genuine training centers. “I chose Code Platoon because it was a full-time program,” Katherine says. “Plus, they accept the G.I. Bill, and the reviews were great.”

At the start of the program, Katherine didn’t have a strong tech background. “I was artistic growing up,” Katherine explains. “I wasn’t driven to self-sufficiency.” All students complete pre-work before starting the program. Before starting with Code Platoon, Katherine decided to do extra work to boost her sense of preparation.

Within a week, she felt like she was drowning in material, but she was impressed at the attentiveness of the instructors. “They seemed genuinely concerned about the progress of students,” Katherine says. Her sense of stubbornness and camaraderie also helped to overcome difficult moments. “It didn’t take long to vent about the stress of the program and realize that you aren’t the only one. Even though the program was sometimes dizzying, I enjoyed the process of building things.”

Katherine completed the program in December 2018 as a member of Golf Platoon. She started working for Code Platoon as an assistant part-time instructor while continuing to hone her skills and applying for full-time opportunities. In March 2019, Katherine received a job offer conducting business analysis and project management support. She accepted it and took her next step as a developer.

“I’m finally doing something I wanted to do professionally,” Katherine says. “I enjoy it and want to do it career-wise. I’ve studied subjects before that I’ve enjoyed, but when it comes to application, other things can be a little boring. But I don’t have that problem when it comes to code. It’s something I love to learn about and enjoy doing every day.”

“After graduation, Katherine joined Code Platoon as a teaching assistant, eager to give back to the next class of students. Katherine was an incredibly engaging teaching assistant for us. Her energy in the classroom helped create a warm and dynamic learning environment for our students. We are grateful to include her among Code Platoon’s alumni!”

-Rod Levy, Executive Director, Code Platoon

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Edward Wright, Alumni of the Month, July 2019

After serving in the US Navy for eight years as an aircraft mechanic, Edward decided that he wanted to switch careers to a more technology-oriented path. He attended college online for computer science, but didn’t get enough practical skills to actually bridge the gap to a full-time job as he intended. With a wife and children depending on him, Edward wanted to make sure that he had a clear path ahead of him that would lead to an education, income, and long-term potential.

Vocational Rehabilitation

While searching for a practical stepping stone, Edward heard about the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program through the Department of Veterans Affairs from someone he knew, and he applied.

To his surprise, Edward didn’t successfully make it into the program the first time, but he was encouraged by a contact at the VA to try again. During this same time, he relocated and was assigned a new point of contact for the program as well. Despite all the turmoil, Edward reapplied to the program.

Edward mentioned in his application for the Voc Rehab program that he wanted to attend a coding boot camp so that he could improve more on his programming ability than he was did while working on his bachelor’s degree. In fact, he had so much faith in the coding boot camp system that he was ready to pay for his training out of pocket. Fortunately, he didn’t have to make that financial commitment; with some patience, persistence, and a little bit of faith, he was able to make it into the VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation program to fund his training.

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Training that works for veterans

Code Platoon wasn’t the only coding boot camp Edward considered when looking at options, but it was the best one for his needs. Code Platoon’s compatibility with the VA’s Voc Rehab standards helped of course, but Code Platoon also offered flexibility on payment options with generous scholarships if Voc Rehab didn’t work out. And no matter how Edward funded his training, Code Platoon’s focus on veterans made it a great choice for a former sailor who wanted to feel comfortable with his peers while training.

Whether it’s taking a second shot at technology education or trying more than once at a VA application for tuition, Edward believes it’s all about continuing to try.

“There was a time when I was leaving the service and I wasn’t sure how much career potential or learning ability I had left. I look back on that now, working for an international company like Grainger, and I can’t believe the difference of where I’m at. I know it sounds cliche, but if I can keep hitting a wall and trying again until I succeeded, you probably can too.”

Congratulations to Edward Wright, Code Platoon Alumni of the Month for July 2019!

As the largest B2B e-commerce retailer with more than half of our sales coming through a digital channel, Grainger has a high demand for skilled software developers. Code Platoon offers an extensive and unique approach to developing technical experts, and we are thankful to them for introducing us to Ed Wright. As a Veteran of the Navy, Ed brings a strong sense of teamwork and service, along with technical skills that enabled him to contribute quickly at Grainger.

– Sean McCormack, VP of Solutions Engineering, Grainger

Transcript of Edward Wright’s Code Platoon video

I joined in ’99, my first duty station was in Virginia Beach. I worked on the F-14 war plane. Working on airplanes, I found that attention to detail was very critical and that was one of the, I guess, traits I would say that I took from that to where I am now.

I knew I wanted to get into something related to IT or software development while I was in the military, but since I had already started down that road the VA didn’t want to pay for it and so I didn’t have the opportunity to try to transitioning into that area while I was in the military. When I came across Code Platoon, it sounded interesting immediately and so I did a little bit more research and found that it will probably be the best option for me, considering the cost between it and some of the other ones and I will say the location I thought was good for me as well, being here in Chicago.

With Code Platoon the thing I got out of it the most was the way Rod prepared everything before we ever got there. Some of the events that we went to, all the visitors we had, just all those things all put together I just felt like was critical to my success and me just sticking through it. It was a great experience. I would do it all over again. I tell my family members, anybody I’ve come across I would do this all over again. If I could talk my spouse into coming, I would.

The place where I ended up at, I felt was perfect, just perfect for me, and that place is a company called Grainger. At Grainger I’m a front end web developer intern. They’re an industrial company and working in aviation I actually knew who they were before I ever got here. The guys at Grainger were pretty excited to hear that and I just thought it was good for that reason.

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India Platoon Update Blog

India Platoon is Code Platoon’s 9th cohort of students, and this is where we’ll track their journey from start to finish, and for some alumni, even beyond!

India Platoon starts its coding boot camp journey – 5/6/2019

On May 6, 2019 Code Platoon proudly welcomed 11 new students to our India cohort. The new student reception event, hosted by Nerdery in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood, allowed incoming students to meet each other prior to kicking off class the following week. Students also got to talk with Code Platoon graduates, volunteers, board members, and staff. This networking opportunity was just the beginning of the unparalleled access to technology firms that Code Platoon students are afforded when they join the program.

India cohort’s 11 members represent some of the finest Marine Corps, Navy, Army, and Air Force veterans and military spouses. Rod Levy, Executive Director of Code Platoon, commented: “India platoon represents an exciting class for us. We are proud to have four of the five branches of service represented at once, and this is also one of our largest classes to date. Each students brings a tremendous amount of life experience with them as they join their new teammates in learning software development skills. I am excited to watch this group grow over the next 14 weeks.”

Over the course of the program, these students will spend 60-80 hours a week together, participating in lectures and events, completing coding challenges, and learning best practices in Python and AWS, among other skills. They will grow together and culminate their Code Platoon experience with a group project. Group projects are presented at graduation on August 16, 2019.

Join us in welcoming India platoon and wishing them well on their coding journey!

Jyn Kim Code Platoon Alumni

Jyn Kim, Alumni of the Month, June 2019

Through a student exchange program, Jyn came to America when she was 20 years old. She fell in love with the country and graduated with a degree in economics and international business from the University of Missouri. With her degree in hand and a student visa, she ventured to Chicago to find work. However, without a permanent address or citizenship, her options were limited. She scraped by on whatever odd jobs she could find, even working at a Farmer’s Market.  

Jyn reached a turning point when she discovered the MAVNI program. If she was bilingual with a bachelor’s degree, she could join the U.S. Army Reserves and earn her American citizenship. She leapt at the chance and signed up with the hopes of becoming a linguist. However, since she wasn’t born in the United States, she couldn’t receive the security clearance she needed to do the job, so she settled for logistics, specifically driving trucks. Nonetheless, she was officially a United States citizen.

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Coding as a foreign language

As a reservist, Jyn participates in one training weekend each month as well as an annual training. With no deployment in sight, she still needed to find a full-time job. Through another veteran, she heard about Code Platoon. She immediately recognized the program as another way she could satisfy her drive to work with languages. She couldn’t work with human languages because of her human origins, but she could learn the language of computers.

As a reservist, Jyn qualified for the Code Platoon coding academy and before she knew it she was coding 12 hours a day. It was grueling, but she says she had all the support she needed to succeed. In addition to the intense instruction, she had two mentors and access to a steady pipeline of speakers who she could consistently pepper with questions. She even got to visit one of her mentors’ places of work.  

When Jyn started searching for a position in coding, she knew exactly what to expect. She interviewed with five companies and landed an internship with one of Code Platoon’s sponsors, UL (Underwriters Laboratories), the safety standards company. After four months, she was awarded a job as a software developer where she is thriving today.

Once Jyn was established in the United States, she was in a position to venture back to South Korea to visit her family. After not seeing her family for five years, she surprised them with a visit. Her mom is still reeling from the shock. Now that Jyn is settled as a citizen with a promising career, she can see her family more often.

Congratulations to Jyn Kim, Code Platoon Alumni of the Month for June 2019!

Transcript of Jyn Kim’s Code Platoon video

I joined the military hoping that I could be a citizen and that’s how I got it. When I joined the Army, I already knew about Code Platoon through my friend and I thought there’s another reason to join the Army because there is a coding boot camp just for veterans. Tuition was so cheap and it was unbelievable. So when I was going to basic training, I was already planning to apply for the coding boot camp. My parents just couldn’t believe it that I’m studying for a software developer, and they were just inspired by the fact that I’m studying computer languages. So I think that was my motivation.

When I told my commander in my unit, he was very happy for me that I’m going for a new career and he was really willing to let me reschedule the weekend drills. As we were getting to graduation, I realized that annual training was coming, so I had about five, six interviews in three days, and that was really, really intense, but I really appreciate their effort to reschedule for me so I can have a fair opportunity with everyone else.

I feel like everyone’s family. It’s not like they have this obligation to come. They really wanted to to see us succeed in this industry. I got an offer from Underwriter Laboratories. It’s a global safety standard company, and my integration was four months long, and I had a lot of chances to pair with senior developers. I know lifelong career barely exists in these days, but I really think that there are a lot of potentials in programming.

Code Platoon was great to all of us. It really changed our life and lifestyle, and I think it was a turning point my life.

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New tech is here to help but is not without its flaws

Every day, we produce wonderful new technologies to meet the insatiable demands of consumers, whether for enjoyment or out of necessity.

In many cases, a new tech product is a marginal redesign of a standard piece of equipment, but in many cases, these small adjustments can help thousands of consumers and workers.

Veterans can benefit from this new tech in their careers and personal lives. However, we need to keep in mind that many of these developments, such as computer software programs and high end chips, come with their own new and unique problems.

San Francisco bans facial recognition software for government agencies

Law enforcement agencies across the country have turned to facial recognition software to help spot fraud and identify criminal suspects. However, the city of San Francisco has banned its use for all government agencies, to include law enforcement.

The ban is included into a wider bill which requires agencies who want to use facial recognition software to get approval from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. In addition, the agency will need to publicly disclose the tech’s intended use.

Critics of facial recognition tech feel that using artificial intelligence to spot and ID citizens is a step down the rabbit hole, potentially leading to real-time surveillance of all citizens, not just suspects and criminals. A study by MIT and Georgetown also found that the tech is less accurate at identifying people of color and will only increase biases in law enforcement.

Currently, the SF Police Department and Sheriff’s Department do not use the technology and will identify their need, as prescribed by the law, if they ever plan on purchasing this type of AI. Veterans interested in moving into law enforcement will be faced with the pros and cons of this new technology, depending largely on the community where they will operate.

Intel chip leaves your computer open to new attacks

An integral flaw in an Intel chip has compromised millions of devices. Skilled hackers are able to manipulate the holes in the chips’ security to pull sensitive information from microprocessors.

Four new kinds of attacks have been identified by researchers, and those vulnerabilities can result in hackers accessing information like encryption keys and passwords of millions of computers. This new set of exploits is considered to be in the same family as the Meltdown and Specter flaws announced in 2018. Some commonalities include data storage issues, and the ability to allow malicious software to be run on your device.

The best way to protect your data is to keep your computers and mobile devices updated with the latest software and patches as soon as they are released. Intel has fixed the flaw in their Intel Core processors from the 8th and 9th generations, as well as the Intel Xeon processor family’s 2nd generation. If your computers do not fall into these categories, look for software updates that can patch the flaw with microcode.

Veterans, whose personally identifiable information is transferred, stored, and used more frequently than most citizens, will have a greater stake in making sure to close these security gaps in personal devices as well as demanding update compliance in organizations with which they work.

New tech is coming, but it’s not without its problems

Companies like Microsoft and Intel are constantly evolving. Trying to maintain the tip of the spear requires them to produce new products, processors, programs, and devices constantly. They don’t always get it right the first time. As consumers of tech, veterans need to understand that flaws are always possible.

We embrace adaptive devices, keep a cautious eye on facial recognition, and work to overcome production flaws in our microchips, and in these recent case studies we can see the full spectrum of technology’s benefits and challenges for veterans.

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Hotel Platoon celebrates graduation

From Left to Right: Charles Kubiak, Caroline Cessaro, and Joshua Babicz planning their final project.

Code Platoon is excited to congratulate the graduates of Hotel Platoon. This was our eighth class of students.

We held our graduation ceremony on April 18, 2019 at 2:30 PM CST at the Motorola Solutions office in Chicago, Illinois. Nine students graduated; five of those used GI Bill benefits, and the remaining four received tuition scholarships in order to attend our program.

These graduates will continue in their journeys with paid software development internships exclusively offered for Code Platoon attendees to further their coding careers. The internships for this cycle are Raise.com, 8th Light, Sprout Social, Avant, Coyote Logistics, Wayfair, and Castleview Partners.

Hotel Platoon’s lead instructor, Jonathan Young, had this to say about the graduating class: 

“Code Platoon is proud to graduate its eighth cohort, Hotel Platoon. Coming into 2019, the Code Platoon team analyzed the market and decided to add an Amazon Web Services (AWS) professional certificate and change the curriculum from Ruby to Python. It was a large move but the Hotel Platoon students rose to the challenge and knocked it out of the park. We’re proud of each student and know that they will represent this new chapter of Code Platoon well with their future companies.”

Hotel Platoon graduate testimonials

“Since leaving the service in 2011, I have struggled to find a place where I feel I truly belong. In January 2019, I took a chance on myself by joining Code Platoon. I knew I loved tech and coding, but even then I was unsure what to expect from the program.

What I found was the first place I have truly felt at home in years. In just four short months I and 11 other veterans/mil spouses learned to create full stack web applications and we are now firmly on the road that will lead us to the next part of our lives.

For our Capstone Project my team and I created a fully functional mobile game in React native in just over a week and then presented it to an enthusiastic audience that was truly thrilled and eager to watch us succeed. It was one of the best experiences of my life and I am so proud of everyone.

To any vets/mil spouses with a passion for code and doubts as to whether this is the right step, I assure you it is. Feel free to contact me with any questions regarding the program, especially the remote option. I am just one part of a larger community that wants you to succeed by doing what you love!

I can’t wait to see where this path takes us all and I look forward to navigating it together with everyone from this cohort, as well as those that paved our way from the previous cohorts.”

-Gina Hobbs

Code Platoon would also like to thank the sponsors who made this particular cohort possible, including Motorola Solutions and Boeing.

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VET TEC will make you reconsider how (or if) you use your GI Bill

VET TEC is a new VA program to pay for technology education for veterans, and it can be used at coding bootcamps. The program is designed to skill up veterans and get them into in-demand, high paying technical careers like web development, cybersecurity and software development. 

If you’re a veteran or reservist and you want a career in technology, VET TEC is by far and away the best option, even if you have 100% Post-9/11 GI Bill® benefits with BAH.

Don’t waste your GI Bill benefits or miss out on additional benefits; read more about VET TEC and see if it’s right for you.

Eligibility

Veterans and reservists with at least one day of Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, or Selective Reserves (Chapters 33, 30, or 1606) are eligible for this program (spouses and dependents are not). This is a huge “increase” in benefits for Chapters 30 and 1606; those programs only pay a small monthly stipend. Through VET TEC, Chapter 30 and 1606 veterans and reservists can get full tuition and a housing allowance.

Type of Training

Coding bootcamps (code schools) are short term, intense, immersive, industry-based training that is designed to give you the skills for an entry level job in tech. These programs are lighter on theory and heavy on real world application compared with traditional college computer science degrees. The commitment is 40 to 80 hours a week, depending on the program.

This is not traditional higher education. The VET TEC program cannot be used at degree granting facilities, such as colleges, community colleges, and universities.

Purpose

VET TEC is designed to get veterans jobs. The school who trains the veteran gets paid on a pro rata basis: 25% on enrollment, 25% on successful graduation, and 50% when the veteran gains meaningful employment as defined by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The school doesn’t get paid fully unless you get hired within 6 months. That means screening is critical. You have to be serious about getting a job in tech.

Application Process

Veterans apply to VET TEC here. Separately, most coding bootcamps have their own application process which a veteran must complete.

Only veterans may use this program (no spouses or dependents) and the veteran must have at least one day of benefits (Chapter 30, 33, or 1606). There are limited funds that the VA will apply to the program across all trainees: $15 million per year for five years.

Key takeaways: Veterans can use VET TEC funds to go to a coding bootcamp. Tuition is paid in full – in stages – and the veteran receives the housing allowance as well. While the veteran must have at least one day of benefits, the veteran will not use up any of their current GI Bill benefits for this program.

Who Should Consider VET TEC?

  • Any veteran who wants a career change into tech but wants to “save” their GI Bill should apply for VET TEC.
  • Chapter 30 and 1606 veterans – this program will cover full tuition and housing.
  • Veterans with less than 100% GI Bill benefits will also get full tuition and housing.

If you’re interested, here’s a list of approved VET TEC providers.

If you’d like to learn even more specifics about VET TEC before applying, read our VET TEC FAQ page.

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VET TEC remote program

Software coding is a flexible, rewarding, and growing career field. Employers want new talent to fill these coding roles faster than a traditional degree will allow, and the highly-specific skills needed are arguably best taught in a coding boot camp experience.

As the “boot camp” descriptor implies, military veterans are uniquely qualified to train for new careers in the fast-paced coding boot camp environment. The success rate of veterans graduating from our coding boot camp indicates that substantial income and job security are accessible through this type of training.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) agrees that vocational job training in coding boot camps is a worthy cause. The VET TEC program covers the full cost of tuition for veterans to train at approved coding boot camps and collect basic allowance for housing (BAH) without taking away from remaining GI Bill benefits. There’s literally no risk to the veteran to accept the opportunity to train at a coding boot camp.

Code Platoon remote program and VET TEC

Code Platoon’s Live Remote Program already offered full tuition scholarships, but veterans who needed to collect BAH to cover cost of living while training were previously unable to do so while studying online outside our live classroom setting.

Our Live Remote Program, covered by VET TEC, offers several advantages over our Self-Paced Remote Program.

Feature

Self-Paced Remote

Live Remote

Completed online
Yes Yes
Full curriculum
Yes Yes
Tuition
Free Covered by VET TEC or full scholarship
Mandatory attendance
No Yes
Full-time instructor
No Yes
Progress testing
No Yes
Certificate Upon Completion
No Yes
Collect BAH
No Yes, with VET TEC

With VET TEC, students can now train online at Code Platoon tuition-free while collecting BAH. The Code Platoon Live Remote Program offers the same instruction, lessons, and timeline as our In-Person Program, but it’s available from wherever you can train.

To apply for the Code Platoon Remote Program, click the button below.

You will also need to apply for your VET TEC benefits with the VA in order to get tuition and BAH. To apply for VET TEC, click the button below.

VET TEC, including BAH, is also available for those applicants who would like to attend our In-Person Program.

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America demands change in veteran suicide legislation

Code Platoon is honored to work with the dedicated men and women of the military.  We believe that the well-being of those who do and have served should take utmost priority and we are grateful to see clouds of change.  In honor of our veterans in need and Mental Health Awareness Month, this post is dedicated to informing on that change which has been demanded by the people of our nation.

 

In the last 18 months, 24 tragic deaths at VA Medical Centers across the country have called attention the urgent need to strengthen support services available to veterans. While leaving an enduring  mark, the growing outcry for help is sowing seeds for new policy, research and access to mental health programs to better ensure that no veteran is ever left behind.

Executive order signed to help end veteran suicide

The National Initiative to Empower Veterans and End Veteran Suicide was signed by the President in March to focus on improving the quality of life for American veterans, with a focus on suicide prevention.

 

Co-chaired by the Department of Veteran Affairs, the executive order mandates the development of the Veteran Wellness, Empowerment and Suicide Task Force. Within 365 days of the executive order the task force will need to develop a roadmap to lower the veteran suicide rate, present to Congress a program to offer grants to local communities to help deliver services to veterans and develop a strategy that can help gauge research in the area of veteran suicide prevention.

 

“As the largest integrated health care provider in the nation and a leader in developing innovative mental health and suicide prevention strategies, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is uniquely positioned to co-chair this effort with the White House,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “Veterans suicide is a national public health issue that affects communities everywhere, and this executive order is a national call to action.”

New bill would force VA to report on campus suicides

Introduced by Rep. Max Rose, D-NY, an Army veteran, HR 2334 would require the VA to report on campus suicides and attempted suicides to Congress no later than seven days after the event.

 

Better known as the Fight Veteran Suicide bill, HR 2334 will require the reporting of additional veteran information to Congress. This information includes but is not limited to: the veteran’s status at the VA, the last encounter with the veteran’s current medical center, whether the veteran had private medical insurance, their age, housing and employment status. Rose believes by providing this additional information Congress will better understand veteran suicide and help provide a solution.

 

“It’s imperative that we receive not only basic information from the VA, but substantive data on this rising trend of veterans committing suicide at VA facilities,” said Rose, a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “Getting this data more quickly and thoroughly would guide Congress’ efforts in understanding this crisis, and preventing these tragedies. We must ensure all veterans have the services they need when they need them, plain and simple.”

 

Congress has found that the VA is not always forthcoming with information regarding to the tragedies happening on VA Medical Center campuses. Rose and the House of Veteran Affairs Committee hope the mandated information will help Congress understand what is happening to veterans across the nation and create better suicide prevention.

Senate legislation to increase access to veteran mental health care

Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act has been introduced in the Senate by Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.). S- 785 is an aggressive bill designed to give veterans access to the mental health care facilities and treatment they need. The bill hopes to increase the VA workforce, give veterans access to alternative solutions, and increase mental health care for rural/hard to reach veterans.

S-785 will improve VA outreach in five different ways.

  1. Aid the VA workforce and give direct hiring authority for mental health providers. It will also place a Suicide Prevention Coordinator at every VA Medical Center.
  2. Improve access to mental health care for veterans living in rural areas. Create more telehealth sites for veterans to access and give grants to non-VA organizations that provide mental health services to veterans.
  3. Automatically enrolls transitioning military personnel into VA mental health care for one year after service.
  4. Study, invest and innovate in alternative treatments like support animals, outdoor events, yoga, acupuncture, and meditation; give greater access to these types of treatments to veterans.
  5. Hold the VA accountable for its suicide prevention efforts, management of Va resources and information sharing with veterans seeking mental health care with both the VA and outside providers.

The bill aims to improve accountability of the VA regarding veterans suicide and suicide prevention measures. According to a report by Stars and Stripes, The Government Accountability Office found that the VA was only spending 1 percent of their budget on suicide prevention in fiscal year 2018. By September, the last month of the fiscal year, the VA only spent $57,000 of its committed $6.2 million.

Bipartisan legislation helping end veteran suicide crisis

Across the country, approximately 22 veterans commit suicide each day. Inexplicably, it has taken a spike in recent adverse events to spur the country’s leadership. Veterans everywhere need the help and support of family, friends and community to get through these invisible wounds they carry around daily. Having new programs emerge because of these events provides hope for the plight of many veterans in our nation.

 

Veterans who are in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, and those who know a Veteran in crisis, can call the Veterans Crisis Line for confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Call 800-273-8255 and press 1, send a text message to 838255 or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat.