Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency rolls out new website
The new Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, headed by Ford School alum Jeff Barnes (MPP '09), recently launched a clearing-house website for all Michigan veterans, as well as a toll-free number for veterans' services and needs. The agency, which seeks to become a one-stop-shop for veterans services, has launched these initiatives to help more veterans access the services—education, healthcare, employment—available to them.
Jeff Barnes was appointed director of the new agency by Governor Rick Snyder in 2012. In a July 13 article in Crain's Detroit Business, "Vets agency creates 1-stop website its 1st year, sets agenda," by Amy Lane, Barnes says that the state is expecting an influx of between 30,000 and 50,000 veterans in the next five years. All of those veterans will need to access services in a veterans affairs system that has historically been difficult to navigate.
The site is partly a response to this new demand on Michigan's VA infrastructure, providing information on nearby employment opportunities and streamlining the process of contacting county service officers. While Barnes acknowledges that there's a lot of work ahead, he applauds the state's investment. "The state has made a huge commitment over the past year and has made quite a bit of progress."