CHIPPEWA FALLS — Gov. Tony Evers today visited the Wisconsin Veterans Home at Chippewa Falls and signed Executive Order #157 creating a Blue Ribbon Commission on Veteran Opportunity. The executive order today comes as last week the governor announced he would be creating the commission during his State of the State address.
“Wisconsin veterans often face unique hurdles when they return to civilian life. Through our budget investments over the last several years, we’ve worked to address the challenges facing our veterans, but we can’t stop there,” said Gov. Evers. “These folks have given so much in service to our country, and especially over the last two years, so many have returned home at a time of increased isolation and uncertainty. This commission will have the intentional involvement of veterans and their families, so we can take their lived experiences and input to find action-forward solutions to help and support Wisconsin veterans.”
Wisconsin is home to more than 300,000 veterans, who often face unique emotional and physical health challenges after completing their service. Veterans are also at increased risk for economic and housing insecurity, mental and behavioral health challenges, and substance use disorders, among other challenges. The commission will be charged with developing comprehensive, long-term efforts to support Wisconsin’s veterans and address these challenges, which is essential for ensuring the well-being of our veterans and ensuring their success and opportunity.
“We can help reduce barriers to higher education, employment, and job training, and streamline the licensure process for veterans who want to join our workforce. We can help make sure we have sustainable, ongoing funding for programs that support these folks by ensuring our Veterans Trust Fund remains solvent. And yes, we can help invest in housing security, more mental health supports, and more substance use treatment,” said Gov. Evers during his State of the State address last week.
This commission will use a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach to identify gaps in existing services, opportunities for robust investment, areas for additional collaboration with federal and private partners, and obstacles to receiving services and program benefits designed for veterans, while reducing barriers to higher education, job training, employment, healthcare, and affordable housing, among other key areas. Under Executive Order #157, the commission will make recommendations to Gov. Evers later this year to potentially be included in the governor’s forthcoming 2023-25 biennial budget proposal.
Executive Order #157 is available here.