#Connect20 Spotlight: Connecting Veterans to Technology - Network:On

#Connect20 Spotlight: Connecting Veterans to Technology

Published July 13, 2023

In today’s interconnected world, high-speed broadband has become essential for communication, education, employment opportunities and access to vital services. Because of this, veterans without a robust home internet connection can face additional hurdles when transitioning from military service to civilian life.

The Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania (VLP) has stepped in to help. VLP is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting veterans and their families as they reintegrate into civilian life. This support includes providing assistance to secure housing, other essential services, job training and wellness services.

When veterans transition out of military service, they immediately need to begin planning next steps, often remotely. These include:

1. Determining where they want to settle

2. Securing housing

3. Finding a job or applying to school

4. Signing up for VA benefits and other support services

A veteran with access to the right technology and broadband service can much more easily address these crucial tasks – but a transitioning veteran lacking secure housing or a reliable internet connection could find them significantly more difficult. And while VLP offers support for each of these steps, the organization realized it could increase its impact by helping veterans access the internet and technology.

Thanks to federal and private grants, VLP can now provide laptops to veterans and offer “mobile computer banks,” where users can access computers if they don’t have one at home. Staffed by VLP, the mobile computer banks make it easier for staff to complete intakes, provide referrals, help with housing searches, and work together to complete job applications and other emergency assistance needs. VLP also helps veterans navigate signing up for federal services like the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).

“At VLP, our mission is to empower veterans and their families to navigate the challenges of life. And it’s a lot easier to navigate those challenges when you’re connected to the internet,” said Toshua Jarrett, chief development officer at VLP and a veteran herself. “For someone just leaving the military, there’s so much they need to do that requires getting online. VLP is proud to support veterans in all aspects of their lives, and in this day and age, that includes helping them get online.”

VLP empowers 8,300 Veterans annually in over 30 counties spanning Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio. Learn more about VLP and the fantastic work the organization is doing to serve veterans at https://www.veteransleadershipprogram.org/.

VLP regularly gets out into the community to work with veterans and help connect them to career opportunities and other support services.