May 16, 2013
SACRAMENTO, CA – On Monday, the California Disabled Veterans Business Alliance awarded Senator Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) the Freedom Fighter Award.
“I am overwhelmed and deeply honored. This award is not only a distinct privilege, but a reminder that we must continue to push forward and gain new ground for our veterans who have sacrificed so much,” said Correa.
Former chair and current member of the Senate Veterans Committee, Senator Lou Correa, was recognized for his legislative efforts to expand economic opportunities for all veterans, including those with disabilities. The Senator is a longtime and outspoken advocate for veterans and has authored and supported numerous measures to expand services and opportunities for California veterans.
Senator Lou Correa worked closely with the Disabled Veterans Business Alliance and other stakeholders to encourage the High Speed Rail Authority to successfully move a small business plan forward that included a 3 percent “set aside” for participation by veterans who are part of the Disabled Veterans Business Enterprise (DVBE) program in all high-speed rail contracts, including those federally funded.
These efforts were followed by an informational hearing in August 2012, where Senator Correa asked state agencies to address the barriers disabled veterans face when pursuing gainful employment and identify policy changes to expand the DVBE program. As a result, Senator Correa introduced multiple measures, Senate Bill(s) 719 & 722, to expand access for disabled veterans who are seeking employment.
“Unemployment is at crisis levels for veterans in California. Despite their tremendous service to our country, the state has struggled to adequately align services and economic opportunities for entrepreneurial-minded veterans. California must do better and I remain committed to ensure that we do,” added Correa.
This year, Senator Correa commissioned the Senate Office of Research to begin a series of reports on defining the scope of veteran employment challenges and potential solutions, including, “Employment Opportunities for (Semi-Skilled and Unskilled) Veterans.” In addition, Correa requested the Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes to investigate and report on the goals, process effectiveness, and identifiable outcomes to date of the Interagency Council on Veterans, as well as the State Auditor to evaluate the effectiveness of the Employment Development Department’s dedicated programs for veterans’ employment.
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