In the past 24 hours, Operation Second Chance has received 27 ASSISTANCE REQUESTS!!! 27 service members and their families that are facing eviction. 27 families wondering if they are going to have a working vehicle to take their kids to school or get to appointments. 27 veterans who swallowed their pride and asked for help. WE NEED YOUR HELP!!! Donate today and make an impact in the lives of these HEROES!!!
By: Natalie Gross
“President Trump has just put his signature on a new law that will bring significant changes to education benefits for service members, veterans and their families.
The legislation known as the “Forever GI Bill” garnered strong bipartisan support in Congress, passing unanimously in both the House and Senate.
“Today our commitment to support and care for the men and women who have served our great nation has been reinforced with the signing of the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017,” Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., chair of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, said in a statement. “This legislation will enable veterans to use the education benefits they’ve earned through the GI Bill when and how it suits them best, setting them up for future success in whatever career they pursue.
“Our student veterans are some of the very best of this country,” he added, “and I’m proud we can support them with this new law.”
Here are 11 things you should know about the new GI Bill benefits.
1. There’s no longer an expiration date.
Previously, veterans had to use their Post-9/11 GI Bill within 15 years of their last 90-day period of active-duty service. That requirement is going away.
This portion of the law will apply to anyone who left the military after January 1, 2013. It will also apply to spouses who are receiving education benefits through the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship for family members of service members who have been killed in the line of duty since Sept. 10, 2001.
2. Purple Heart recipients will get more benefits.
The new GI Bill allows anyone who has received a Purple Heart on or after Sept. 11, 2001 to receive 100 percent of the benefits offered under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which includes coverage of tuition costs at a public school’s in-state rate for 36 months and stipends for textbooks and housing.
Previously, Purple Heart recipients were beholden to the same time-in-service qualifications for the GI Bill as other service members. This meant that Purple Heart recipients without a service-connected disability who did not reach 36 months of service were only eligible for a percentage of the benefits and not the full amount.
Aleks Morosky, national legislative director for Military Order of the Purple Heart, said there have been 52,598 Purple Heart recipients who were wounded in action during post-9/11 conflicts, though it’s unclear how many would immediately benefit from this provision. An estimated 660 Purple Heart recipients each year over the next 10 years will be able to take advantage of the increased benefits.
“We think that anybody who has shed blood for this country has met the service requirement by virtue of that fact,” Morosky said. “Everybody sacrifices, everybody puts themselves in harm’s way, but Purple Heart recipients are certainly among the service members who have sacrificed the most.”
This provision will go into effect in August 2018.
3. More people are eligible for Yellow Ribbon.
The Yellow Ribbon Program is a voluntary agreement between schools and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to split school costs not covered by the GI Bill, reducing or eliminating the amount students must pay themselves.
The Forever GI Bill will expand eligibility for this program to surviving spouses or children of service members in August 2018 and active-duty service members in August 2022.
Previously, only veterans eligible for GI Bill benefits at the 100 percent level or their dependents using transferred benefits were eligible for Yellow Ribbon.
4. There’s some extra money — and time — for STEM degrees.
Some college degrees in science, technology, engineering and math fields take longer than four years to complete, which is why the new law authorizes an additional school year of GI Bill funds on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Scholarships of up to $30,000 will be available for eligible GI Bill users starting in August 2018. Only veterans or surviving family members of deceased service members are eligible for this scholarship — not dependents using transferred benefits.
5. Vets hurt by school shutdowns will get benefits back.
A provision in the new GI Bill that will restore benefits to victims of school closures has been a long-time coming for the staff at Student Veterans of America.
“We’ve been getting calls for several years now, beginning with the collapse of Corinthian (Colleges), from student veterans whose lives were put on hold,” said Will Hubbard, vice president of government affairs for the nonprofit, which has more than 500,000 student members. “Every day we wasted until it passed was another day that they had to wait.”
This provision will retroactively apply to GI Bill users whose schools have abruptly closed since January 2015, for credits earned at the shuttered institutions that did not transfer to new schools. This will include the thousands of veteran students who were attending the national for-profit chains Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institute when they closed in 2015 and 2016, respectively. It would also provide a semester’s worth of reimbursement for GI Bill users affected by future school closures, as well as up to four months of a housing stipend.
6. The VA will measure eligibility for benefits differently.
Starting August 2018, this bill changes the way the VA uses time in service to calculate eligibility.
Previously, service members with at least 90 days but less than six months of active-duty service would be eligible for up to 40 percent of the full GI Bill benefits. Under new regulations, the same 90-days-to-six-month window is equal to 50 percent of benefits. Service members with at least six months and less than 18 months of service will be eligible for 60 percent of benefits.
This change will tend to benefit reservists more due to the nature of their service, according to a spokeswoman for the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
7. Reservists can count more of their service toward eligibility.
Starting next August, members of the National Guard and Reserve will be able to count time spent receiving medical care or recovering from injuries received while on active duty toward their GI Bill eligibility. This will apply to all who have been activated since 9/11.
The Forever GI Bill also allows individuals who lost their Reserve Educational Assistance Program when the program ended in 2015 to credit their previous service toward their eligibility for the Post-9/11 GI Bill.
8. Housing stipends will decrease slightly.
The government will pay for the expansions represented in the Forever GI Bill through a 1 percent decrease in housing stipends over the next five years. This will bring veterans’ housing stipends on par with what active-duty service members receive at the E-5 with dependents rate. (Veterans on the GI Bill currently receive a slightly higher housing allowance rate than active-duty E-5s with dependents.) This change will take effect on Jan. 1, 2018 and will only apply to service members who enroll in GI Bill benefits after that date. No one currently receiving a housing stipend from the VA will see a reduction in benefits.
“On a month-to-month basis, they would never see less money,” said SVA’s Hubbard, explaining that the 1 percent reduction will come off of the total the VA would have spent over five years.
Starting in August 2018, housing stipends previously calculated based on the ZIP code of a student’s school will be based on where a student takes the most classes.
Also in August 2018, reservists will continue to receive their monthly housing allowance under the GI Bill on a prorated rate for any month during which they are activated, preventing them from losing a whole month’s worth of funds.
9. Benefits can get transferred after death.
A provision of the new GI Bill offers more flexibility with the transfer and distribution of benefits in case of death.
If a dependent who received transferred benefits dies before using all of the benefits, this provision gives the service member or veteran the ability to transfer remaining benefits to another dependent. This will go into effect August 2018 and apply to all deaths since 2009.
This provision also gives dependents of deceased service members the ability to make changes to their deceased loved one’s transferred benefits.
Ashlynne Haycock, senior coordinator of education support services for the nonprofit Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, explains that currently, only a service member has the authority to make changes to the benefits they’d like to transfer. So, if a service member dies after transferring 35 months of benefits to one child and one month of benefits to another, for example, the family would not be able to make future changes to the GI Bill’s distribution among that service member’s dependents.
10. Surviving family members will get more money, but less time.
Besides access to Yellow Ribbon, spouses and children of service members who died in the line of duty on or after 9/11 will also see their monthly education stipend from the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program increase by $200.
There’s a downside, however. Though the same program has previously provided 45 months of education benefits, that will decrease to 36 months in August 2018 to bring it in line with the provisions of the GI Bill.
11. School certifying officials must be trained.
Individuals who certify veteran student enrollment at schools with more than 20 veteran students will be required to undergo training. Previously, training was not mandatory.”
OPERATION SECOND CHANCE EARNS
COVETED 4-STAR RATING FROM CHARITY NAVIGATOR
Press Release: For Immediate Release
Germantown, MD April 12, 2017 –OPERATION SECOND CHANCE’s strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency have earned it a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator. This is the first time that OPERATION SECOND CHANCE has earned this top distinction.
Since 2002, using objective analysis, Charity Navigator has awarded only the most fiscally responsible organizations a 4-star rating. In 2011, Charity Navigator added 17 metrics, focused on governance and ethical practices as well as measures of openness, to its ratings methodology. These Accountability & Transparency metrics, which account for 50 percent of a charity’s overall rating, reveal which charities operate in accordance with industry best practices and whether they are open with their donors and stakeholders. On June 1, 2016, we upgraded our methodology for rating each charity’s’ financial health with CN 2.1. These enhancements further substantiates the financial health of our four star charities.
OPERATION SECOND CHANCE’s exceptional 4-star rating sets it apart from its peers and demonstrates its trustworthiness to the public,” according to Michael Thatcher, President & CEO of Charity Navigator. “Only a quarter of charities rated by Charity Navigator receive the distinction of our 4-star rating. This adds OPERATION SECOND CHANCE, to a preeminent group of charities working to overcome our world’s most pressing challenges. Based on its 4-star rating, people can trust that their donations are going to a financially responsible and ethical charity when they decide to support “OPERATION SECOND CHANCE, INC.”
“It’s important our donors trust that we’re using their donations wisely to accomplish our mission to best support our wounded, injured and ill veterans and their families, said Cindy McGrew, President and CEO. Our 4-star Charity Navigator rating demonstrates to our supporters our good governance and financial accountability.”
OPERATION SECOND CHANCE’s rating and other information about charitable giving are available free of charge on www.charitynavigator.org. More-detailed information about OPERATION SECOND CHANCE’s rating is available to Charity Navigator site visitors who become registered users, another free service.
About Charity Navigator
Charity Navigator, www.charitynavigator.org, is the largest charity evaluator in America and its website attracts more visitors than all other charity rating groups combined. The organization helps guide intelligent giving by evaluating the Financial Health and Accountability & Transparency of more than 8,000 charities. Charity Navigator accepts no advertising or donations from the organizations it evaluates, ensuring unbiased evaluations, nor does it charge the public for this trusted data. As a result, Charity Navigator, a 501 (c) (3) public charity itself, depends on support from individuals, corporations and foundations that believe it provides a much-needed service to America’s charitable givers. Charity Navigator, can be reached directly by telephone at (201) 818-1288, or by mail at 139 Harristown Road, Suite 101, Glen Rock, N.J., 07452.
About OPERATION SECOND CHANCE:
“We are patriotic citizens committed to serving our wounded, injured and ill combat Veterans. We support Veterans and their families by building relationships and identifying and supporting immediate needs and interests. We are dedicated to promoting public awareness of the many sacrifices made by our Armed Forces.”
Manager or Associate Manager, QA Document Control
Summary of Position
This position is responsible for managing the document control program at MacroGenics Inc. Individual will supervise the document control group and interface with management at all levels to ensure overall compliance with the document control program. Will implement the document control procedures and administer the training program requirements, drive resolution to related issues and concerns, and provide status reports to Sr. Management on a routine basis. This position will also supervise, coach and mentor direct reports.
Responsibilities and Job Duties:
- Coordinate the document control training program utilizing Master Control including conducting training sessions, monitoring the adherence to training requirements and identifying any individuals, deficiencies or areas of non-compliance. Organize and chair the quarterly training status meetings to report on training program status for employees and raise concerns or issues with group to identify possible remedies, next steps and any further actions
- Prepare and provide monthly quality metrics and other reports to supervisor to discuss at quarterly Quality Council Meetings. May need to investigate and/or resolve identified concerns or issues in partnership with other functional managers. Will then report out findings and recommendations and/or actions taken.
- Conducts audits of off-site document storage facilities to determine if all industry standards and regulations for document storage in a GXP environment are being followed and applied. Prepares audit report and distributes to supervisor and senior management, and if issues or concerns are identified must work with vendor to implement corrective action, or modify vendor’s qualification status per internal procedures.
- Ensures that all quality documents are archived properly and in accordance with all regulatory requirements by his team and other employees for our off-site storage facilities. Communicates archiving procedures and may assist with archiving process
- Oversees the GXP document control room and ensures that all documents are being stored properly and in accordance with required regulations and that all approved users have appropriate access and understand the document storage rules and regulations. Addresses any routine issues or problems and raises more complex situations to supervisor for guidance. Develops ideas and recommendations for improving existing systems and plans for changes to document control processes and/or procedures as necessary to align with future commercial expectations
- Maintain current Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) binders ensuring that the contents are accurate for the area and the binder is complete. Must replace missing documents and identify and resolve any other binder deficiencies
- Maintain current quality documents and templates on company intranet or in the electronic document management system so that employees have access to the timeliest and accurate information
- Issues manufacturing batch records for batch production and protocols to Quality Control (QC), Validation or IT per SOPs. Issues books containing QC controlled forms and ensures that all forms are accounted for and that data integrity has not been compromised
- Oversees scanning and filing of master and executed documents and that they are filed or stored appropriately and in accordance with relevant regulations
- Perform supervisory duties such as hiring, coaching, training and mentoring direct reports.
- Assists with special QA projects and other duties as assigned
Experience – Manager level
- Minimum of 8 years of experience in document control
- At least 4 years of experience in a life science GMP regulated manufacturing facility
Experience – Associate Manager level
- A minimum of 6 years of experience in Quality area with an emphasis on document control
- At least 3 years of experience in a life science GMP regulated manufacturing facility
Education – both levels
BS degree in a related field or equivalent years of experience
Experience – both levels
- Experience with paper-based and electronic document management systems
- Ability to communicate effectively with subordinates and with peers and other management levels
- Capable of influencing through education and building understanding
- Prior experience in a commercial environment
- Previous experience as a supervisor with direct reports
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
- Demonstrated ability to engage employees
- Must have excellent interpersonal and people management skills
- Must be able to manage multiple projects at once
- Proficient using MicroSoft Office, specifically with Word, Excel and PowerPoint
- Document Control or Records Management specific training or certifications
- Prior experience with Master Control
Contact: Vanessa Toner, 301-972-1080, firstname.lastname@example.org
Petco Foundation Invests in Operation Second Chance’s Life-Changing Work Supporting Service, Therapy and/or Working Animals
Grant of $3,000.00 will extend efforts to help pets and people live their best lives
WHO: The Petco Foundation recognizes Operation Second Chance’s success in its mission to help people live their best lives with service, therapy and/or working animals.
WHAT: Operation Second Chance received a grant award of $3,000.00, which will extend its ability to provide financial assistance to those veterans needing help with the costs of having a certified service dog.
For more information about Operation Second Chance or the Petco Foundation, visit http://www.operationsecondchance.org/ or http://www.petcofoundation.org. Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or by using the hashtag #PetcoFoundation.
Free Flu Shots for Veterans
The cold and flu season is upon us and the Department of Veterans Affairs has once again teamed up with Walgreens Pharmacies nationwide to allow all veterans who are currently enrolled in the VA healthcare system to be able walk into any of the over 8000 Walgreens nationally (and the Duane Reade pharmacies in the New York metropolitan area) to receive a vaccination at no cost.
Vaccinations will be available through 3/31/17.
Veterans wishing to receive the no cost vaccination simply need to present a Veterans Identification Card and a photo ID, at any participating Walgreens to receive the vaccination. In addition, after the Walgreens pharmacist administers the vaccine, Walgreens will transmit that information securely to VA where it becomes part of the patient’s electronic medical record.
VA is committed to keeping Veteran patients healthy, and during this flu season, vaccination is the best way to prevent the spread of flu. No matter where you live, visit your local VA clinic or Walgreens to get a free flu shot.
• To find your local VA, visitva.gov/directory/guide/home.asp.
• To locate a Walgreens store near you, call 800-WALGREENs (800-925-4733), or gotocom/findastore.
• To learn more about the partnership, call 1-877-771-8537 or visit ehealth.va.gov/Immunization.asp.
• To get more information on flu and flu vaccine, visitpublichealth.va.gov/flu or www.cdc.gov/flu
Frederick County Veterans Treatment Court (VTC)
To promote public safety and reduce criminal justice costs by assisting and supporting veterans through a coordinated response in collaboration with the veteran’s service delivery system, community based services, and the court system.
1) Honor veteran participants’ service to our country.
2) Reduce veteran participants’ criminal recidivism and other court contacts.
3) Facilitate veteran participants’ sobriety, abstinence and improved behavioral health by recognizing the precipitating factors that may have led them to the judicial system.
4) Assure available VA benefits and services are accessed by veteran participants and integrate community-based treatment options and services for veteran participants as appropriate.
5) Increase veteran participants’ compliance with treatment and other court ordered conditions by monitoring and encouraging positive progression through the VTC process in order to return productive, law-abiding citizens to the community.
A VTC seeks to divert eligible Veteran-defendants with substance dependency and/or mental illness (PTSD) that are charged with felony or misdemeanor non-violent criminal offenses, to a specialized court docket. The court substitutes a treatment problem solving model for traditional court processing. Veterans are identified though evidence based screening and assessments. The Veterans voluntarily participate in a judicially supervised treatment plan that a team of court staff, Veteran health care professionals, Veteran peer mentors and mental health care professionals develop with the Veteran. At regular status hearings, treatment plans and other conditions are reviewed for appropriateness, incentives are offered to reward adherence to court conditions, and sanctions for non-adherence are handed down. Completion of the program is defined according to specific criteria. Many will have their charges dismissed upon successful completions and are assured of a non-incarcerative sentence upon completion.
This collaborative effort involves a number of organizations coming together with one goal – what is in the best interest of the Veteran. The pilot program currently has the Veterans Administration Medical Center’s Justice Outreach Coordinator, Frederick County Health Department, Building Veterans, The Purple Moon Project, Veterans Support Network, MD’s DHMH, and judicial advocates including Judge Scott Rolle, the State’s Attorney’s office, probation officers, defense attorneys and others on board. This list of supporting players will expand as needs are identified and sources for solutions brought into the mix.
On Wednesday, October 26, 2016, Frederick County opened its first Veterans Treatment Court docket in Judge Scott Rolle’s Courtroom! It was a wonderful experience to be part of this inaugural effort. We are asking for your help.
Project: Flags, Challenge Coins and Incentives
We are in need of the following items to support the VTC:
Military Flags with poll and base: (Displayed only during VTC proceedings)
Army Flag $245.00
Marine Corps Flag $245.00
Navy Flag $245.00
Air Force Flag $245.00
Coast Guard Flag $245.00
Challenge Coins $1,200 (for 200 coins) (2 coins per Veteran)
Dog Tags (with inspirational words) $320 (for 600 dog tags) (6 per Veteran)
To donate, please make checks payable to “Purple Moon Project / VTC Project.” They will track the donations and pay invoices from a line item in their budget. They are a non-profit, so any amount donated is tax deductible! You will also get a letter of confirmation for your donation.
Craig Tyler, Executive Director
The Purple Moon Project, Inc. – 501(c)(3) (non-profit) organization
PO Box 3093
Frederick, MD 21705
Thank you for partnering to make a difference in the lives of Veterans in need right here in Frederick County.
Senate Bill 245, Veterans Hiring Preferences – Spouses, became law on October 1st. Senate Bill 245 authorizes an employer to grant a hiring and promotion preference to an eligible veteran, the spouse of an eligible veteran who has service-connected disability, or the surviving spouse of a deceased eligible veteran.
All states grant some form of employment preference to veterans in the public sector, but private employers have been hesitant to favor veterans because of provisions in federal law that prohibit discrimination in hiring. An exception to the federal law, however, allows preferences for veterans if they are authorized under federal, state, or local law. An eligible veteran is a veteran of any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, including the National Guard and the military reserves, who has received an honorable discharge or a certificate of satisfactory completion of military service.
A copy of the legislation may be found by clicking here.