Many Americans continue to struggle to find employment in the current job market and military veterans who are wounded or disabled in war are no exception. The Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation, an Annandale, VA based organization, seeks to help those veterans find work through their Veterans Vocational Technical Institute (VVTI) program.
"[The Veterans Vocational Technical Institute program] outlines training and possible career opportunities for veterans. All programs are free," said Tempie Thompson, resource development and marketing manager for the Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation. VVTI's training programs for "Virtual Careers" allow veterans who can't physically get to buildings to be gainfully employed by working remotely from home. After completing the program veterans find work at call centers, help desks, and in fields such as tech support, digital design and cyber security.
"I was unemployed at the time and job hunting when I came across [the Veterans Vocational Technical Institute] at a military website," said Deepak Le, program manager of the Veterans Vocational Technical Institute and alumnus. "I applied to the school and two weeks later started class."
Le graduated from the VVTI program and accepted a position with the program. He later started teaching other veterans in training programs. Le said the online training program began in August 2006 and has become strong in the last three years.
According to Le, there are 15 to 25 individuals in a virtual classroom. About 15 percent of the class is female. VVTI starts a new 16-week class every other month. The cost is $600 a training and class is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The class lasts eight hours a day for 16 weeks; the first week is actually orientation to prepare attendees for the coming intensive weeks. Le explained that the cost of training an individual is about $15,000 and several of the companies that partner with VVTI give student scholarships from which students are paid $11/hr and also through which supplies and all computer gear and software are provided.
Upon completion of the course VVTI holds a virtual job fair and assists in employment placement. However, the program cannot guarantee placement. Le said VVTI does take a few graduates to work in its call center since the organization has its own service desk. Although MOPHSF and VVTI are headquartered in Annandale services can be anywhere because it's all online. All training can be accessed anywhere as long as someone has an Internet connection.
The Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation was incorporated in 1957 to raise funds to support the Military Order of the Purple Heart Organization whose members receive the Merit Badge (popularly known as the Purple Heart) in recognition of their actions in combat, a tradition initiated by George Washington.
Thompson explained the foundation serves veterans nationwide and has offices in every state. At these offices National Service Officers (NSO's) who have undergone extensive training to prepare them for their posts assist in informing and counseling people about available MOPHSF programs and services, including claims, housing, employment, death and burial benefits and more.
The funds raised by the Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation (MOPHSF) are used towards the welfare and rehabilitation of members of the Military Order of the Purple Heart of the USA and any veteran wounded in combat, as well as spouses of the wounded, widows and widowers and their children or survivors. Funds also support legislative services in the United States Government pertaining to issues that regard disabled veterans.
Veterans and residents interested in helping or partnering with the MOPHSF and VVTI can visit the organization's website. Those with family members who have a Purple Heart are also encouraged to join or volunteer at a local chapter.