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Easter Seals Awarded $100,000 McCormick Foundation Grant to Help Employ Wounded Veterans

Chicago, Nov. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Easter Seals was recently awarded a $100,000 grant from the McCormick Foundation in Chicago to support its workforce development program, Operation Employ Veterans.

The year-long program supports the McCormick Foundation's Operation Healing Freedom campaign, providing training to employers on effective methods to recruit, employ, and retain wounded veterans across the Chicagoland area. Area corporations including CVS Caremark, Dominick's and NICOR will participate in the project.

"Returning home from military service after experiencing combat and adjusting to life with a disability can be an overwhelming, complex, bewildering and extended process," said Doug Carmon, assistant vice president, Easter Seals Military and Veterans Initiatives. "Getting and keeping a good job is a high priority for most returning veterans. Easter Seals is thrilled to have the McCormick Foundation's support in our commitment to making employment a reality for veterans."

Unemployment, Significant Needs

Statistics show high rates of unemployment for 20-24 year-old-veterans. The unemployment rate for people with disabilities is more than twice that of people without disabilities and has remained at that level for many years.

-- A study conducted by the University of Chicago found that at 13 weeks post-separation, 39 percent of veterans were unemployed or out of the labor force. The numbers for wounded veterans are more difficult to obtain, but many veteran related organizations have found that employment outcomes for wounded veterans are far worse.

-- And, findings from a recent Department of Veterans Affairs study show the private sector is not employing service members with management experience from the military or those with college educations, and that employers have negative perceptions that affect hiring decisions.

"There is a need to design and execute a targeted education strategy to help private sector employers recognize the potential strengths of, and to recruit, hire, and retain wounded veterans as valued employees," added Carmon.

Operation Employ Veterans Delivers Help at Home

For nearly 90 years, Easter Seals has played a leading role in helping veterans with disabilities in their local communities through medical rehabilitation, home accessibility, job training and employment, and therapeutic recreation.

Easter Seals' Operation Employ Veterans will bridge the gap between military, veteran and civilian communities, helping veterans successfully adjust to employment after military service and life with a disability. Participating corporations will receive support on how to recruit, hire, work with, make accessibility accommodations and retain wounded veterans as well as training on military culture, disability, and situational issues that wounded veterans regularly face.

"Through the grant, Easter Seals will enhance employment opportunities for wounded veterans needing and wanting a job in the Chicagoland area," said Carmon. "It enables Easter Seals to formalize a training program for employers to help them recruit, hire, and retain wounded veteran employees."

The Operation Employ Veterans effort is part of Easter Seals' nationwide Military and Veterans Initiative to provide services, supports, and resources to service members and veterans with disabilities and their families.

For more information about Operation Employ Veterans, please visit, call 312.726.6200 or email

About Easter Seals

Easter Seals is the leading non-profit provider of services for individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, physical and mental disabilities, and other special needs. For nearly 90 years, we have been offering help and hope to children and adults living with disabilities, and to the families who love them. Through therapy, training, education and support services, Easter Seals creates life-changing solutions so that people with disabilities can live, learn, work and play in their communities. Support children and adults with disabilities at

About McCormick Foundation

The McCormick Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to strengthening our free, democratic society by investing in children, communities and country. Through its five grantmaking programs, Cantigny Park and Golf, and three world-class museums, the Foundation helps build a more active and engaged citizenry. It was established as a charitable trust in 1955, upon the death of Colonel Robert R. McCormick, the longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. The McCormick Foundation is one of the nation's largest charities, with $1.2 billion in assets.

The McCormick Foundation has partnered with several prominent investment firms to create Operation Healing Freedom, a fundraising campaign aimed at providing critical services to U.S. armed forces, veterans and their families, who have suffered injury and loss during current and previous conflicts.

For more information, please visit

SOURCE Easter Seals
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