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DTMB honored to support military veterans that call Michigan home

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The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget takes great pride in supporting military veterans throughout Michigan. As the administrative service provider for all state government agencies, DTMB employees take great pride in the work they do to help veterans be successful throughout their post-military life.

Transitioning to civilian life is a unique challenge for those that served our nation. The eMichigan team built and maintains the Why MI mobile application as a tool for veterans to connect to resources throughout Michigan. The application provides regional information, such as veteran-friendly employers, openings for veteran-friendly positions, VA health facilities, veteran-friendly schools, and contact information for veteran service officers. The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) often uses this tool to recruit newly transitioning service members who are unfamiliar with Michigan.

To further ease the transition, there are a set of informational transition plans available in the application. These transition plans help veterans understand their options regarding health and welfare, career planning, housing, and continuing education.

As a general measure of the success of these efforts, the Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives periodically publishes articles, rankings, and maps that tell a story of how veterans integrate into the state's job market. The availability of this data is imperative for policymakers to make informed decisions about improving veteran services and making sure that veterans are receiving the support they need.

DTMB also helps to support veterans choosing to create their own businesses. Because DTMB is responsible for the management of state facilities, the department often contracts with independent businesses for goods, services, and construction. To be cost efficient, DTMB must get a cost estimate from three potential vendors and select the most cost-efficient vendor. Michigan's Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business (SDVOB) preference, a public act created in 2005, gives qualifying SDVOBs up to a 10% pricing preference when bidding on contracts. This means that SDVOB's only need to be within 10% of the cost of other vendors to win contracts. For fiscal year 2021, this amounted to 58% of all construction contracts being awarded to veteran-owned companies. Since 2010, this focus has resulted in 892 contract awards totaling more than $660 million to veteran-owned companies.

DTMB's Office of Continuous Improvement works to provide a clear roadmap for the near-term and long-term future of the Michigan Department of Military & Veterans Affairs (DMVA) Michigan Veterans Trust Fund (MVTF). The fund provides emergency grants to veterans who are in crisis. For example, a veteran may leverage the grant to pay an unexpected auto mechanic bill that enables them to maintain their employment and remain financially independent thereafter. With OCI assistance, the DMVA was able remove barriers to veterans in the application process for emergency funds, resulting in veterans obtaining funds faster to overcome an unforeseen emergency.

Financial assistance for veterans isn't just limited to emergencies. DTMB Financial Services, through an Accounting Service Center, provides accounting services to the Michigan Veterans Homes (MVH) in Chesterfield Township, Grand Rapids, and Marquette.

Currently, there are 15 dedicated staff, most of them working directly on-site, that provide accounting services, including member and state accounting. The DTMB Financial Services staff assist MVH management, veterans, and their families or responsible parties on a daily basis with their financial matters.

On any given day, staff assist veterans applying for insurance benefits, completing a Medicaid application, working with families to apply for a dad, mom, or grandparent's VA benefits, make accurate financial assessments for room and board, run errands, fill shopping orders, or even assist the activities of department staff with transporting members to different facility events. It is an all-hands-on deck mentality and effort.

The DTMB Office of Infrastructure Protection (OIP) has supported DMVA and DMVAA by conducting physical security vulnerability assessments at the veteran care facilities in Marquette and Grand Rapids and an administration office building in Lansing over the past few years.

The Office of Retirement Services administers the Military Retirement Provision, a monthly payment to approximately 4,500 retired National Guard members in the state.

In August 2020, DTMB was designated as a bronze level veteran-friendly employer and continues to work with the DMVA to make the department an attractive place to work for veterans.

Supporting those that have sacrificed to make our way of life possible is more than just a job for DTMB employees, it's an honor.