WIUM Tristates Public Radio

IL to Help Female Veterans Despite Budget

Mar 29, 2013

The Illinois Department of Veterans of Affairs is trying to increase it’s efforts to meet the needs of female veterans despite flat funding levels from the state.

The Director of the Illinois VA  Erica Borrggren said her department has two top priorities in regards to women veterans.

Credit Scott Stuntz

The first is reducing  the high unemployment rate in female veterans ages 18 - 24, which is above 50 percent compared to around 30 percent for male veterans of the same age.

The second is increased outreach to women veterans to help them deal with issues including sexual abuse suffered during their service.

Borggren said the state’ s current financial situation makes it difficult to achieve these goals.

"We haven't been able to grow to meet the additional needs in the growing veteran population as it returns, so while we haven't had additional state funding for that we're grateful for at least  protected funding and we've found really unique partnerships to do more with less," Borggren said.

One of those partnerships is with the Women’s Business Development Center on a “Vetrepreneurship” program aimed at encouraging female veterans to start their own businesses.