August 2018



Shop Veteran Owned Businesses First

Small businesses are the backbone of the state economy – about 99% of state businesses are small. Washington small businesses employ 1.3 million workers, which is about 51% of Washington’s total workforce. Many of these businesses are veteran-, women-, and minority-owned. Ensuring these diverse businesses have contracting opportunities gives Washington state government access to a wider array of business solutions, helps drive innovation and strengthens our economic growth. Successful small businesses led by veterans, minorities, and women help make our economy and our families more resilient – strengthening our communities and improving the quality of life for all Washingtonians. 


Governor Inslee has directed agencies to do a certain amount of purchasing with diverse businesses, and established a Business Diversity Subcabinet, which I’m proud to be a member of.  We have set out to help agencies not only understand why doing business with diverse businesses is important, but also provide them with tools that will help facilitate real change. Part of this work includes improving data to better measure everything we purchase, whether through a contract or using a purchasing card.


In addition, a Disparity study will be complete later this year that will provide information about how state government is doing when it comes to access for veteran-, minority-, and women-owned businesses in contracts and purchasing, as well as recommending strategies for ensuring diverse firms can participate.  Find out more about the Disparity Study here.


Whether you are a private citizen, or operate a business or non-profit organization, chances are you make purchases from other businesses!  You can find a list of Washington State Certified Veteran Owned Businesses on the WDVA website (or use a search tool available here), and a list of Certified Minority or Women Owned businesses at the Office of Minority and Women Business Enterprises website.  Look here to find the Veteran Owned Businesses in your community and choose to shop veteran first!


If you know of a Veteran Owned Business that isn’t certified, please let us know who they are so we can reach out to them directly.  Veteran or Servicemember Owned Business Certification is free and the process is relatively easy to complete.  In addition, certification makes a business eligible to apply for the Veterans Linked Deposit Program which can improve access to capital for certified Veteran and Servicemember Owned Business enterprises by decreasing interest rates on small business loans up to 2%! 


WDVA Receives $50,000 from Seahawks & Puyallup Tribe

The Seattle Seahawks and Linebacker Bobby Wagner joins the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs' Director, Alfie Alvarado-Ramos, and Chief Financial Officer, Mike Kashmar, to show off a $50,000 check donated by the Puyallup Tribe and Seattle Seahawks. 

The check was issued to support services and resources that assist veterans without homes.  The ceremony took place at the Seahawks' VMAC facility in Renton on Thursday, June 14, 2018.

WDVA would like to thank the Seattle Seahawks and the Puyallup Tribe for their generous donation and continued support of veterans in the community.


Seattle Central College Signs Veterans Supportive Campuses MOU

In July, Seattle Central College signed the Partners for Veterans Supportive Campuses Memorandum Of Understanding.

Seattle Central College President, Sheila Edwards Lange, committed to and is delivering on the 8 Keys to Veterans success in her college. They have a study lab, pantry, meeting space and office.

This is a big investment by the college, the college president and for the veterans giving back to other veterans. The pantry is open to ALL students and Operation lunch bag is also open to all students!


'Flags Across America' Visits Port Orchard Veterans Home

Residents at the Washington Veterans Home in Port Orchard enjoyed a display of the artworks included in the book 'Flags Across America'.  The book's co-author, Karen Robinson, was also available for the day to listen to our Veterans Stories and tell the stories about each picture displayed. #WeLoveOurCommunity




Spokane Veterans Home Hosts Northwest Golfers for Warriors

























Vet Corps Serves Veterans at Walla Walla Veterans Home



















The WDVA Vet Corps selected the Walla Walla Veterans Home for their final service project before the completion of their service term. Members of the Vet Corps completed a rigorous fencing project, and still had time to spend with Veterans creating lasting memories! We are so grateful to the Vet Corps for their valuable time and hard work!



Washington Soldiers Home Celebrates Independence Day


















Washington Soldiers Home residents celebrated their annual Soldiers Home July 4th Picnic on a balmy summer day. The American flags and patriotic décor on the beautiful grounds and gazebo site helped to facilitate a greater sense of national pride and gratitude toward our veterans.

Residents savored a delicious barbecue feast prepared by the WA Soldiers Home Dietary Department, while the Veterans Family Fund of America's Music Works for Veterans put on an interactive and lively performance. Residents were able to participate through singing and rhythm instruments.

A couple of residents who are active with vocal performances during the monthly Music Works For Veterans Program actually performed for the crowd and Melon-E The Clown spread cheer with her playful antics and fun-shaped balloons.

We would like to send a special thank you to the Resident Council, the Veterans Family Fund of America (who put their payment right back into the Music Works For Veterans Program), Melon-E The Clown, the Dietary Department and all the staff and volunteers who contributed to this year's celebration!    


2018 Spokane Veterans' Community Mental Health  Summit - August 28



For more information contact Alaina Taylor at



WDVA receives $480,000 Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP) Grant​​​​​

The US Department of Labor grants HVRP funds for the purpose of providing workforce reintegration services to homeless veterans. $300,000 of the grant is a continuation of a previous grant award; $180,000 is new funding aimed at providing services to veterans in Eastern Washington. 

“The fact that WDVA is the only State Department of Veterans Affairs to receive an HVRP Grant is a testament to the outstanding work done by our team,” said Lourdes E. “Alfie” Alvarado-Ramos, director of the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs. “These funds will allow us to strengthen our commitment to serving veterans across the state, with an additional emphasis on veterans in several Eastern Washington Counties.”

WDVA partners with veterans employment representatives from WorkSource Offices across the state to help connect veterans with employers who are hiring. Often, applications for HVRP are received directly from WorkSource Offices.

HVRP funds can be used for items such as work clothing and shoes, tools, and transportation.  In addition, veterans are connected with job readiness services such as basic skills training, therapeutic work and resume building. 

While HVRP funds do not pay for housing directly, staff members coordinate with programs such as WDVA Transitional Housing Program, Supportive Services for Veteran Families program and the Department of Housing and Urban Development Continuum of Care program to ensure that veterans have access to safe housing as they transition into employment.

For additional information on WDVA’s HVRP including a list of Counties served, visit:

More information on the Department's unemployment and re-employment programs for veterans is available at For more information about the Department's Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS), visit

To view a list of the HVRP grant recipients, click here.
To view the entire Department of Labor article, click here.


Simon Kim was named associate director of the VA Puget Sound Health Care System.

He will oversee health informatics, environmental management, nutrition and food, logistics, compensation and pension for both the Seattle and American Lake campuses as well as manage the Fisher House and Child Care Center.

VA Puget Sound serves Veterans from a five-state area in the Pacific Northwest and they have two main divisions: American Lake and Seattle.

Visit their webpage at:


Post 204 Brings American Legion Outreach to Prison

By Sharon Kirkpatrick

In August 2018, a Woman Veteran in WA State would have become another homeless statistic after completing a sentence in the Mission Creek Corrections Center for Women in Belfair, WA.  Releasing back to the community with nowhere to live is not uncommon.  But there is hope and help for our Women Veterans who have served their country and now faced serving time. 

The women we see in our Incarcerated Women Veterans Program are those who make a commitment to serve and many decide the military will be their career, but things can sometimes go very wrong. These women may become victims of Military Sexual Trauma (MST) or health issues related to their service, and their lives and dreams are changed forever.  Their efforts to manage their experiences can sometimes take a twisted turn, and the results can be bad decisions that lead to incarceration.  With collaboration and outreach with Department of Corrections, American Legion, WA State Department of Veterans Affairs, and volunteers, they receive assistance in a unique program that identifies, meets with, and advises Women Veterans in prison.  They can be referred for residence in transitional housing for Women Veterans where they will have access to counseling, benefits, and a healthy environment.   They become able to work, go to school, and apply for benefits with assistance from service officers who a part of the team.

This invisible population of Women Veterans who are incarcerated is part of the growing population of Veterans who made a right choice in their lives by signing up, but unfortunately made a wrong choice after their service.  The American Legion and its service officers know the story well.  Claims for benefits after experiencing physical and mental injuries are crucial steps to healing those who have suffered and sometimes never recovered.  How do our sister and brother Veterans find help?   The Incarcerated Veterans Outreach (IVO) program is a part of the solution.

We briefed Governor Inslee about incarcerated Women Veterans and our support groups at Purdy and Mission Creek.  In addition to providing outreach,  KING5-TV provided coverage on our group:



REGISTER NOW: VSO Professional Development Summit

Pierce County's first residence for homeless female veterans opens its doors

by Su Ring, Rachael Heistuman, King5 News

After serving our country, female veterans looking to move on from the military now have a new local resource.

Betsy Ross Hall, part of the Soldiers Home in Orting, is the first residence that offers transitional housing and much-needed services for homeless female veterans.

With the aim to ease the hardships and challenges veterans face after their military service, the Betsy Ross Hall's transitional program offers a positive environment for women as they get back on their feet.


Kacy Cross, now a Veteran Navigator working at Betsy Ross Hall, previously served in the military and utilized the hall's services herself. Now she works with her fellow veterans to lay the groundwork for a healthy and successful life after their service. She shares more about what their program offers along with current resident and US Army veteran Aloys Wilson.

To read more of the King5 article, please visit:


Local Businesses Recognized for Hiring Veterans as Part  of 'Yes-Vets'

Cheers and applause greeted Holt Brewer as he was given a metal for his service during the Korean war.

Like Brewer, many military veterans have to come back from service eventually and figure out what's the next step.

Which could leave some vets without a clue.

“Once you leave it can kind of be out to you so it is a little difficult to take what you did in the service and make that into the corporate world,” veteran Gabe Galbraith said.

In 2016, Washington state passed a law to create a statewide campaign to encourage businesses to hire veterans.

The campaign is called “Yes-Vets.”

Its goal is to help them find a way to translate what they did in the military into something that can be used for any job opening.

“They have incredible leadership skills. They understand organization. They understand project management and all of these different type of communication needs that are essential for our workforce,” Employment Security Department Commissioner Suzi LeVine said.

Here in Yakima, about 40 businesses are part of “Yes-Vets.” Which has led to almost 200 veterans being hired.

Yakima County, Shields Bag and Printing, the Yakima Training Center and Phoenix Security were all recognized as those who've given many vets job opportunities over the last year.

Perry Tech was also brought up for all it does for veterans in the area.

“We promote the yes vets program to all of the employers that we try to network with and send our veteran students,” Perry Tech’s veteran’s adviser Adam Riecker said.

He said they have a group of veterans that meets every month to go over available resources for them.

Riecker said helping vets get into the workforce is not only something they feel good about, but something that should be required for them to do.

“There's a lot of students that are coming straight out of the military and it difficult transition process. So, whatever opportunities we can provide them to make that transition a little bit smoother,” he said.

LeVine said many veterans looking for work are qualified more jobs than they realize. It's just about businesses given them a chance.

“We're not asking for an act of altruism. We're asking them to make a great business decision and that's to hire these veterans,” she said.

For business owners interested in being part of "Yes-Vets," you can connect with WorkSource.

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Clinical Compliance Director Olympia

Licensed Practical Nurse 2 Part-Time Port Orchard

Nursing Assistant Certified Port Orchard

Nursing Assistant Certified Walla Walla Night (NOC) Shift

Nursing Assistant Certified Walla Walla Day Shift

Registered Nurse 3 - Resident Care Manager/Supervisor Spokane

More Info: Please visit Employment to see the opportunities that we have! You can also contact a recruiter at


Hired a Veteran? Sign Up Today at

After you’ve notified us that you’ve hired a veteran, we will contact you to arrange delivery of your YesVets decals, to be prominently and proudly displayed at your place of business.

Thank you for your support of those who served!

Visit for more information and to signup!


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