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2022 Accomplishments: Supporting Military Service Members, Veterans and Their Families
December 30, 2022
LANSING, Mich. — Today, we celebrate progress Michigan has made to support military service members, veterans and their families.
“The members of the Michigan National Guard and those from Michigan in active-duty and other reserve components of our military serve our state and nation with honor and distinction,” said Gov. Whitmer. “We must do everything we can to support them and help them thrive. That’s why I’ve been focused on growing programs that expand opportunity, deliver resources and honor the sacrifices of our members in uniform. Together, we can ensure every Michigan veteran, service member and military family has access to great healthcare, pathways to higher education or skills training and the opportunity to find a good-paying job.”
“The Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs is guided by one fundamental promise: that those who are serving or have honorably served our state and nation are ‘members for life’,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul D. Rogers, director and adjutant general of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “I could not be prouder of what we have accomplished this year including our support of Gov. Whitmer’s priority to help our members and veterans thrive, the advancement of our military’s readiness and the exceptional service provided to Michigan’s more than 550,000 veterans and their families.”
Gov. Whitmer has worked to ensure Michigan’s military service members, veterans and their families have the opportunities and support they need to succeed. She has signed legislation to ensure Michigan’s women Soldiers have equitable facilities, authorized funding to construct a new state veteran home in Marquette, provided funding to lower the costs of higher education and skills training for service members and authorized investments to reduce the incidence of suicide among service members, veterans and their families. Additionally, Gov. Whitmer and her administration have expanded key initiatives and boosted outreach to veterans, ensuring that these individuals and their families have the resources they need.
In 2022, Michigan hosted multiple premier exercises at the National All-Domain Warfighting Center, including our marquee Northern Strike exercise series, which hosted nearly 6,000 personnel from approximately 20 states and four partner countries across its winter and summer iterations. We also hosted a new exercise series, Northern Agility, which advanced the Air Force’s Agile Combat Employment doctrine and demonstrated many groundbreaking innovation projects through Michigan’s Kelly Johnson Joint All-Domain Innovation Center. With $115 million in funds ($60 million federal/$55 million state) to address inequities that exist in the facilities provided to Michigan’s women Soldiers, the modernization effort began quickly, with the Grand Ledge Armory being the first of 33 facilities to be completed. Another six facilities went under construction prior to the end of 2022 with seven facilities targeted to begin construction in 2023. The Michigan National Guard also continued to build capability, interoperability and relationships with the National Armed Forces of Latvia and the Armed Forces of Liberia under the State Partnership Program. Through these events and many others, Michigan continues to build on its reputation as a leader in innovative solutions in support of national security objectives.
The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA), which celebrates its 10th anniversary of serving veterans in 2023, is proud of the agency’s accomplishments in 2022. This includes the disbursement of nearly $13 million in public and private grant funding, support for veteran suicide prevention outreach, championing the expansion of the state’s veterans’ hiring preference program, funding emergency grants to peacetime-era veterans, expanding support to underserved veteran populations including women and tribal veterans and helping veterans connect to the best resources available regardless of where they reside. Through its collaborative approach with veteran service organizations and county veteran service offices, the MVAA will continue to take steps to connect veterans, transitioning service members and their families with the benefits they have earned and the resources they need to thrive in Michigan.
With the opening of two new Michigan Veteran Homes (MVH) in 2021 (Chesterfield Township and Grand Rapids), the focus in 2022 included scaling up operations at those facilities and incorporating the nursing standards of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) into daily operations. As well as providing an additional revenue stream that reduces MVH’s reliance on general fund appropriations, CMS certification of these buildings introduced an additional layer of regulatory oversight that ensures MVH will continue to deliver care of the highest quality. In 2022, MVH celebrated the authorization of $97.6 million, funded with $34.2 million in state funding and an anticipated 65 percent match of $63.6 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Construction Grant Program, for the construction of a new state veteran home to replace the D.J. Jacobetti home, located in Marquette, Michigan. This new home will ensure Upper Peninsula veterans continue to receive high-quality care along with the opportunity to live as independently as possible.
“The support provided by Governor Whitmer and Michigan’s legislature is critical to modernizing our operations in the Upper Peninsula,” said Anne Zerbe, executive director of Michigan Veteran Homes. “When built, this new home will deliver extraordinary skilled nursing care in a modern, home-like setting to our U.P. veterans.”
- $115 million in funds ($60 million federal/$55 million state) to modernize current facilities used by the Michigan Army National Guard (MIARNG) to address inequities that exist in the facilities provided to Michigan’s women Soldiers.
- $97.6 million in funds ($63.6 million federal/$34.2 million state) for the construction of a new state veteran home to replace the D.J. Jacobetti home in Marquette. The new home will be similar in design to the recently completed homes in Chesterfield Township and Grand Rapids, incorporating award-winning best practices in long-term care design and construction. This new home will ensure Michigan’s continued ability to provide critical long-term care services to Upper Peninsula veterans.
- $6.5 million in funding for the Michigan National Guard Tuition Assistance Program that provides up to $14,400 for tuition at in-state institutions for associate and baccalaureate degrees and up to $6,000 for certificate and master’s degree programs annually to service members. Nearly 1,300 service members utilized this benefit in the past year.
- The distribution of a record amount of public and private grant funding -- nearly $13 million -- to Michigan counties and veteran service organizations to support veterans with services such as food assistance, dental work and transportation to medical appointments.
- A $1.2 million investment in veteran suicide prevention programs to reduce the incidence of suicide among service members, veterans and their families.
- Expansion of the State of Michigan veterans' preference program, making it easier for those who served our country in uniform to find a good-paying, meaningful job continuing their public service.
- The Michigan Veteran Resource Service Center (1-800-MICH-VET) handled 28,444 cases for veterans and their dependents in fiscal year 2022 (FY22), an average of 2,370 cases per month. This represents an 8.5% increase in cases from FY21. The center also made a single-year record 2,757 referrals to accredited Veteran Service Officers, who assist veterans in filing claims for VA benefits.
- The Michigan Veterans Trust Fund granted $1.5 million in emergency assistance for eligible veterans and their families including, for the first time, peacetime-era veterans who are 65 and older. These grants assisted 1,185 veterans and dependents. Another estimated 1,200 veterans and dependents received benefits from the $308,000 that was given to organizations providing food assistance and entrepreneurial training to veteran families.
- Expansion of the Michigan Veteran Connector initiative, which identifies and cultivates community partnerships to help veterans connect to the best resources available regardless of where they reside.
- The Helmets to Hardhats partnership, helping connect 225 veterans with registered apprenticeships in Michigan’s construction industry.
- Support of the Michigan Youth Challenge Academy, a program to educate, train and mentor at-risk youth at no cost to participants, giving young people the skills to become productive and responsible citizens. In 2022, after receiving classroom instruction and completing a combined 8,812 hours of community service, 190 cadets hailing from 52 Michigan counties graduated from the program.