Danny Stewart Presents To the War Veterans Commission
The Oklahoma War Veterans Commission passed rules, Friday, implementing the Quality Workforce for Oklahoma’s Heroes Act which was passed last year by the Oklahoma Legislature. This act, authored by Sen. Frank Simpson and Rep. Tommy Hardin, will provide education and training for employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs (ODVA) who wish to further their education to provide care for veterans in Oklahoma’s Veterans’ Centers. Both Sen. Simpson and Rep. Hardin attended the meeting.
ODVA will be able to contract with accredited education institutions to establish education and training programs for positions critical to the quality of care of veterans residing in veterans centers at no cost to the employee. Employees who participate in the program will agree to remain employed by the agency for a period of time or will be required to pay back the cost of their education.
In presenting the rules to the commission, ODVA Deputy Director Danny Stewart, ODVA thanked OPEA’s Trish Frazier of for assisting in writing the rules and OPEA members and staff who supported the bill as it made its way through the legislative process. OPEA expects this bill to be a model that can be replicated in other agencies to provide educational opportunities for staff in other state agencies. ODVA expects the rules to be signed by the governor in time for the program to be put in operation in 2014.
Also during the meeting, OPEA Executive Director Sterling Zearley provided the commission with an update on issues important to state employees like the ongoing pay study, pension discussion and merit reform. OPEA values its relationship with the ODVA and their staff who provide care for Oklahomans who served our country in times of war. It is critical that Oklahoma provide the Department of Veterans Affairs the resources necessary to take care of these heroic men and women.