“One of the main causes of recidivism among Justice Involved Veterans (JIV), is the fact that many experience unemployment or low income,” said Ron Abrams, Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) Employment Services North Texas District Outreach Coordinator and U.S. Army veteran.
To improve that situation, working directly with veterans who are in jail are TVC Veteran Career Advisor Bobby Lee Williams and Veteran Employer Liaison Tracy Griffard. Both are Army veterans themselves. The pair have teamed up with the Collin County VALOR Program (Veterans Accessing Lifelong Opportunities for Rehabilitation).
Pictured are Lee and Griffard presenting an employment preparedness workshop to Justice Involved Veterans in the Valor program.
Lee and Griffard meet with the Justice Involved Veterans weekly and provide training in resume writing, interview techniques, and more. “On the average, Bobby Lee and I will have two to four JIV per group”, said Griffard.
“This helps fill the gap between confinement and employment,” said Abrams.
The job search skills training is part of a well-rounded program that provides veteran specific treatment to addresses multiple issues and needs. This includes PTSD and mental health, brain trauma, substance abuse, and therapy.
It’s an all day program with an early start.
“The program consists of work crews that start their day as early as 4:00am, after Reveille and hygiene. Crews work up until the afternoon, cleaning areas such as cemeteries, roadsides, or areas where piles of debris may be found,” said Abrams, pictured. “The afternoons are devoted to counseling and therapeutic programs such as yoga, music therapy, and parenting skills, among other activities.”
The VALOR Program has grown since it’s start in 2019. According to Abrams, it is now in five North Texas counties and over 150 Justice Involved Veterans who have completed the program to date.