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tv   [untitled]    December 8, 2014 4:30am-5:01am PST

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assess them case by case by individual. i'm a staff sergeant in the united states army. i take my so you -- soldier and you say what's good for my unit, what's good for my soldier. that's what we do for our veteran clients. we say what is good for you? how can we help you? and how do we maintain our employment services? that's it. any questions? >> we have a question from councilmember lara. >> thank you for being here. those of you who know my relationship with swords, is exactly what i felt i was going through. when i was in
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the military, i had trouble getting around for employment. me going to swords, i was a client. they worked with me on my resume and made sure that i took advantage of all of my benefits that made me unique. i was offered a position and since then in five years 5 years i have had a lot of opportunities within the organization and it's unanimously that my superiors would say that i have displayed above reproach and that my relationship within the community has also grown. i really want to thank you for sharing that part of your story and approaching this topic about employment as a way to highlight the veterans with disabilities are just parts of our community and that these special accommodations are no additional accommodations for anyone
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else particularly with unemployment. >> thank you, any other questions of councilmembers? councilmember senhaux? >> i want to thank you for being here. your presentation was very impressive. i thank you for sharing parts of yourself and struggles that you went through with your family. i think that you are amazing not just from what you have been through but sitting here with your knowledge and experience not only from a disability perspective. you look at concerns from an employer and client from someone that has been through the services and you see this from both ends and how you approach and look at things and look at the clients and set them up for success. too often we don't see people in key positions who have the full scope of understanding from a visual perspective and
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i like how you appreciated reasonable accommodations for a veteran and non-veterans. i congratulate you on your job. thank you. >> thank you for coming here and sharing your experiences. i had a couple of questions. this happens with any speaker coming from a different sector of society. you mentioned disability rating. could you speak a little bit more about that and explain that more in terms so we can understand that with how that works. >> without going into too much detail, there is a service disconnect iv disability that the va rates you at. depending on the disability that are applied for and valid, it's not a rating that i'm equipped to do that, but i will say that when you look at the requirements to be fully
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disabled in california compared to being disabled in the va perspective, they are different. for instance if i wanted to get an rtc card? >> san francisco, i can do that based on my rating. however if i want a disabled rate for my license plate or something from that nature from california, i would not meet that requirement. that is one of those things that raises questions as to am i disabled or not? am i being recognized for what i have or not? is it going to help me or not? that's the stigma, it definitely creates a barrier on both sides for the employer and effective employee. >> as a quick follow up to that, this
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is me speaking out of ignorance and not knowing, it sounds to me as you serve you come back, i don't want to say trapped, but like a rating as a veteran it's like you cannot separate from that as getting the same experience as a civilian with disability. for example if i was a civilian with disability going to the station on howard for seeking a job or vocational rehabilitation or accommodation for a workplace, they would get a doctor or someone to do an assessment and i would get a job and move forward, but it sounds to me this is something much harsher or sister viewing of the rating
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system. is this because you are rated only as a veteran? >> i can't speak for all of them because i don't know what's available for a civilian but most of what are available to civilians are available to veterans. it's just a matter of that veteran being pointed in one direction. one thing we tend to do in communities is you are a veteran, go to this veteran place. it's not only can you get this, you can get that. don't worry about your status being veteran or not. depends on how you define veteran or whose definition you are going by, you may or may not be a veteran. there is a lot of gray area, but conversations like this and committee and council's like this are helping to bridge that gap
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and we are more mindful in bringing ibs to -- issues to the forefront. >> thank you for that highlight in that area. >> thank you very much for your presentation. i wanted to make some clarifications for the public and also bridge the gap. we talk about disability under the state of california. you talked about disabled placards. let's just clarify a couple of things. all the issues that you mentioned are services, are benefits. they are not part of the civil rights or equal rights clause that are under the ada. so as a person with a disability, all you require to qualify for equal treatment and reasonable accommodations in the workplace is to
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have a form, any form of visible or invisible physical or mental impairment that impacts a person's life activities. that is how you are defined as a person with a disability. it doesn't matter how that irritability or if it's war related. ptsd, civilian related exposure to violence or mental helthsdz health -- and neurological order, what they need to do is provide that level of civil rights to the client. the term disability gets misrepresented and miss quoted a lot, right. we as a society have an image of what a disability is and a stigma of
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what disabled people can and cannot do, but in terms of employment. we are not talking about special privileges, we are talking about a right to accommodations. like a disability. that is true, simply because you meet the definition of a disability. now, if we are talking about much -- money and services, those are social welfare rules and regulations that has nothing to do with everybody having equal rights and reasonable affordable accommodations. i hope that you as helping veterans that you build the connection for people who have invisible or visible to the
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mainstream disability community because as you heard at the beginning of this presentation, the history supports that connection. so thank you again for bringing that up. >> i absolutely agree with what you just said. the reason i brought up those benefits is because it creates an image in a person's mind that once again am i or not entitled to reasonable accommodations or not. if a person is more informed like we attempt to do here at swords and in this council, if we can get that information out and that doesn't have anything to do with it if you are as you are, but right now, i bring that up because i didn't have an answer for myself. >> i think the situation is similar with people with mental health issues. we have had presentations
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from the mental health association where they deal with issues like depression, anxiety, irritability, ptsd, those are all the same types of conditions that the previous speaker enumerated that are plaguing veterans, combat veterans. therefore here is the connection between the mental health community and the disability communities all advocating for equal rights especially in the workplace. >> absolutely. >> more connections. >> yes, ma'am. >> any other comments? no. we'll save the public comments after the third presentation. >> thank you. >> next for information item no. 9. policy recommendations for employers
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higher veterans. strategic partnerships associate. >> good afternoon, my name is kevin miller a partner associate with swords of plow shares. today i will cover social barriers for veterans for disability rating as being the conduit not necessarily identifying being a disabled person and cover disabilities, post traumatic stress and tbi and recommendation for hiring managers and what they should focus on in the workplace. to go over
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the compensation process, i will go over and use my first person narrative. like chris, i'm also an iraq veteran and deployed and in infantry myself. i did not identify with being disabled and even though i do hold that rating. i'm rated for post traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury and musculo injury throughout my body and something the va hasn't currently given me a rating for. i went in 2006. only 60 percent access va care. i went in and told the doctors, these were my issues from my time in service and they basically went on to verify whether they were legitimate
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or not after going through about a process of a year with multiple appointments and doctors, i received my first rating and after that i started receiving compensation. i thought because i was fairly young, only 22-23 that was good enough in seeking services and benefits. however there were many underlying issues and i did not seek treatment for a number of them. i did seek to continue my education and most people did not know what was going on. i took 22 units in a semester in college and maintained employment at the university in humboldt state and ran a program for veterans on the side. after graduating december 2011, i struggled finding
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employment even though i was a community organizer in a rural area and performed a lot of different activities, i always got categorized because i was a former infantry man. they told me you are pretty good for law enforcement or security and nothing else. with that, on my employment prospects were very narrow and i didn't know what i can actually do for gainful employment. upon graduating i ended up in an argument with my roommate and ended up couch is surfing for a number of months. the only thing i had was my pension from the va. i was good enough to have a good support system of friends that i didn't end up on the streets. it took about 8 months before i found my first job and before
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that i wasn't seeking treatment and i ended up self medicating and getting in trouble and losing my employment because of it. i ended up in a pretty bad cyclical repeat of unemployment with an additional dui on record and no drivers license. that's how i ended up with swords of plow shares. i had a friend recommend me for their position and i applied for the position and with that swords saw that i pretty much fit within their mission statement of helping veterans seek gainful employment and also support their lives by seeking treatment and also was under taken with my legal claims. i started as vista and my compensation claim to do an appeal and also used the vfp program to
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gain housing and with the vfp program i was able to obtain a residence within nine 9 months from couch surfing. i ended up to my full time position now as a partnership associate working in policy and resource development basically talking about these issues that we are discussing here today. and with that, my main issues are talking about disabilities and especially in regards to employment. a lot of employers we've come to recognize they are hesitant to hire residents because of stigma attached to many of the signature wounds of modern day wars, post traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury. this is a
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stigma because of lack of knowledge. now it's assumed that every veteran coming back has post traumatic stress disorder, but that is false. about 24 percent of veterans has a mental health disorder which is on par with our counter parts of 26 percent. there are a lot of commonalities there, there is just a different specializations of the condition. so, with this, we've been, we do our combat community training programs for a number of entities and today i will discuss our training for hiring managers. just last week we performed another training with 30 online and employees in a room to discuss these things about breaking down the stigmas that everybody does not have the set
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of issues and how to accommodate the veterans in our workforce. under our programming we've created a nice checklist of what employers can do to pest support and hire veterans. we would like our employers to take our cultural competency program where we discuss our programs and other community based organizations that support veterans in the local area. we recommend how they can recruit and outreach to veterans besides the current avenues their conducting by obtaining job fares by partnering with transition service, with service academies and utilizing social networks and creating web pages that show the desirable skills they are looking for any employee and we recommend they partner with
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veterans service providers in the area like swords. with that, when you partner with us, we can review their materials and show to recommend best practices on being veteran friendly and outreach to more specific sections of veterans if they are looking for women veterans, officers, enlisted, new eras, etc and we can give recommendation for the process for how to best ask those skills that employers are looking for out of their potential employees with being aware of their military experience and not stepping over personal bounds. and with that, we also work with employers on developing military and
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affinity groups mentorship programs and make sure they are familiar with veteran disabilities and we encourage not only the human resources department but employees to take a culture competency classes so they have a familiarity what veterans go through on a daily basis. i believe that's all. >> thank you. councilmembers have any questions, comments? councilmember lara? >> thank you for being able to tie in what plow shares does and thank you for telling a little bit more about your personal story. this topic is one that i'm glad we took an advantage and opportunity to focus this
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entire meeting, but what i get from all three presentations that this is a conversation that needs to be happening continually. thank you for swords plow shares has a presentation to find ways to reintegrate and bring those fully to integrate into organization. thank you, kevin. >> other councilmembers? >> councilmember senhaux? >> i want to piggy back with her and thank you for being here and when you talk about your job and your experience. when you talked about veterans disability, there seems to be more education in the employers perspective for how they see
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a veteran so they can be educated to not only accommodate them and not necessarily to out rule them that they can't be part of society and working. i appreciate you are focusing on that aspect which is a barrier, the stigma around that disability and their situations. i thank you for what you do and for being here in educating us. >> councilmember kostanian? >> each time one of you swords of plow shares comes to talk to the community you have encouraged emotion. it allows us to see not just you, but the issues that you can talk
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about to come through. i applaud you for your courage and thank you for coming today. >> thank you for having me. >> i taught you, didn't i? >> i would like to echo the comments. thank you for coming today and talking about not only your experience but what you do with plow shares and as far as training employers and going in there and asking those tough questions that honestly a lot of employers don't want to listen to. they would rather rattle off and say we'll get back to you. sound familiar? i will tell you why. it's another connection to civilian disability community. it's what's been
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going on with us for decades. when we are out there with a disability, no matter what the disability is, physical, mobility disability. we get those same responses. well, we really want to have you here or those handout jobs, right. where we don't know this fits but we think you are only good for folding clothes and sitting in the back of the warehouse and not being faced with the public and not being seen. it sounds familiar. exactly. that's why i ilo that -- love that you are here. it's a deeper connection and can go past the veteran part but we see you as a part of the community regardless of the status. so i feel from today's
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meeting we can go in depth with your similarities as what you said, i myself don't see myself as having a disability. that happens so often in the disability community. i work at the independent living resource center. i work with various members with all ages with disabilities and oftentimes it starts the conversation and many times i work with people who have hidden or visible disabilities like myself. and they don't want to see that, get me, i too. i know they wanted to work and see themselves succeed. regardless. i will accept that. i hope from today's presentation we can work together past
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the meeting and work with plow shares. >> i did have one thing to mention, we talked about communities coming together. there are other organizations that are like mission continues that have volunteer base projects. that was an idea earlier and there is groups like team red white and blue that have a number of veterans through health and fitness and adaptive recreation and different programs like that. there are smaller groups out there that can bring in social gatherings and bridging the gap between the two communities. >> very much appreciate content that you can provide to the staff and that would be great. >> i will get that to you later today. >> perfect, questions, staff, comments?
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>> hi. thank you so much for being here today and thank you actually for all of our speakers for speaking to this issue. so many things come up for me as i listen to speakers today. as joanne and i were talking here today we talked about the issue of identity as a veteran may lead us in one direction and another person with a disability may lead us in another to see us in the connect of civil rights in the community. i really appreciate that it's not enough to be housed. it's important to be valued. we need the opportunities for employment, but once we get into employment, we still need continued support. it more than just getting in the door and getting hired, it's being among our
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peers that can have a better understanding of our peers to allow us to thrive. i wonder if you have any advice for us today on how best to keep veterans employed once they have gotten that job. we talked about reasonable accommodations, you mentioned different supports but maybe you can touch on that a little bit more for me. >> with that, especially within the workplace, we try to make sure the eoc and hr representative in the actual employment organizations know of community base resources like not just ourselves but maybe the wic office or other different social well facing the agencies that might be in the area and also do they know where the local va center and veteran centers because many don't know they exist
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and they -- we are a separate entities and other people that don't know san francisco and they can find out what are the local community resources rather than having to ask around and falling through a social safety net. >> thank you. >> now i would like to open it up to public comment. if you have public comment, please feel free to come to the front.

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