A veteran from the war in Iraq and Afghanistan (Gulf War-era II) was sentenced to attend the Fathers Matter program at the Community Action Commission of Erie, Huron and Richland Counties as part of an alternative sentence after violating his probation for his charge of failing to pay child support. During the sessions that provide parenting skills and encourage increased involvement with the participants’ children, the program facilitator thought he might be able to offer additional help to this struggling veteran.


As a member of the Army, Program Facilitator Alex Norris observed behavior from the father that he thought showed signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He took the veteran to the Veterans Service Commission, located in the same building, to receive an assessment from the VA Post Traumatic Stress counselor. Because of Mr. Norris’ advocacy for the veteran, within a week the man received an assessment and determined that he was in fact suffering from PTSD. After working with him for a period of time and encouraging him to get help with his emotional problems, he has been released from jail, and was able to gain employment and stable housing. He continues to attend the Fathers Matter classes and is learning other life skills.

The Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies (OACAA) has launched the Ohio Vocation, Education, Training & Services (Ohio VETS) program at six pilot Community Action Agencies in Ohio, including CACEHR, to aid veterans at 200 percent of the federal poverty level and below (i.e. $22,340 for a single person, $30,260 for a couple, $38,180 for a family of three, $46,100 for a family of four).

As the name indicates, the program will offer education and training to assist veterans in finding meaningful employment at a living wage, and provide them and their families with other supportive services to help them attain self-sufficiency.

The Ohio VETS program is being offered at the following pilot locations throughout Ohio:

  • Community Action Commission of Erie, Huron & Richland Counties – Richland County location
  • Community Action Commission of Scioto County
  • Community Action Partnership of the Greater Dayton Area
  • Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland
  • Washington Morgan Community Action
  • WSOS (Wood, Sandusky, Ottawa & Seneca Counties) Community Action Commission
While each location will be offering different services to meet the unique needs of their community, each site will provide a case manager dedicated to serving veterans that is either a veteran themselves or has experience working with veterans, helping them translate their military skills to civilian job requirements. The case manager will meet with the veteran and their family to determine their needs, any barriers to self-sufficiency and create short- and long-term goals, with the ultimate objective of attaining meaningful employment and overcoming economic instability. The agency will then provide education, training and supportive services, or refer the veteran to services to help them attain their goals.

The pilot program will run through June 30, 2013. It is our hope to expand this program throughout the state. For more specific information on the agency programs, contact the agency directly utilizing the contact information below:

Agency Contact Information:
  • Community Action Commission of Erie, Huron & Richland Counties – Jennifer Jennette, (419) 589-2520
  • Community Action Commission of Scioto County – Workforce Connections of Scioto, (740) 354-7545
  • Community Action Partnership of the Greater Dayton Area – Deborah Ferguson, (937) 496-2074
  • Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland – Evelyn Rice, (216) 696-9077 ext. 211
  • Washington Morgan Community Action – Kathy Lott-Gramkow, (740) 373-3745
  • WSOS Community Action Commission – (800) 775-9767 or (419) 334-8911
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