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Upstate universities aim to address lack of services for isolated vets

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A consortium lead by UAlbany is looking to provide incentives for more social support for veterans isolated veterans and their families.

Upstate social work programs aim to provide better rural services for veterans and their families. Universities from across upstate New York, including Rochester, Buffalo, Albany and Syracuse, are taking part in a program funded by the Department of Health and Social Services to train students in remote areas. The Innovation Trail’s Kate O’Connell reports.

The upstate consortium is being led by the University at Albany, and associate professor of social welfare Lynn Warner says the placements will develop students’ skills and give them specialized training in working with veterans.

Warner says the three year grant - worth close to half-a-million-dollars - will go mainly toward student stipends. The financial incentives are to encourage trainees to work in challenging rural settings where services for veterans are scarce.

Warner says better support for the veteran community will translate into earlier job placements and a smoother transition into civilian life.

“The health, the mental health, the behavioral health issues certainly have to be attended to so that people can resume all of those other social roles that we would hope they would be able to fully engage in, so including their family roles and their work roles.”

Universities are currently choosing candidates for the program which will begin next summer.

Brian Mann from North Country Public Radio looks at the challenges facing young veterans trying to engage with the economy they find when the come home.

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