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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

For Immediate Release: May 1, 2013

Sen. Frank Simpson
Sen. Frank Simpson

Senate sends Quality Workforce for Oklahoma’s Heroes Act to Governor

On Wednesday, the Senate gave final approval to a measure that will improve services at the state’s seven veteran centers by providing more educational and training opportunities to center staff. Senate Bill 228, by Sen. Frank Simpson, will create the Quality Workforce for Oklahoma’s Heroes Act authorizing the Oklahoma Department of Veteran’s Affairs (ODVA) to contract with accredited institutions to establish education and training programs for positions critical to the quality of care of veterans residing with ODVA institutions.

“Our veterans deserve the highest level of medical care and that requires that ODVA have the best educated and trained staff,” said Simpson, R-Ardmore. “This bill will give veteran center staff greater access to higher education and training opportunities, which they may not be able to afford on their own. It’ll also give staff more incentive to start a career with ODVA.”

Those ODVA employees who achieve a “meets” or “exceeds” standards on their performance evaluation will be eligible for the additional education and training. Those who participate in the education and training program may have their program expenses paid by agreeing to remain employed with the Department for a specified amount of time based on the program in which the employee participated. Beginning the day after their graduation, employees will earn credit towards their loan repayment for each day worked. Anyone who violates the agreement, except those who volunteer or are drafted into active military service, could be required to repay any outstanding funds plus interest to the Department plus any attorney fees.

“This is a great bill that is going to make a tremendous impact on the quality of care available in Oklahoma’s veterans centers,” said Simpson. “I want to thank my colleagues for looking out for our state’s veterans and helping me get this bill to the Governor’s desk.”

ODVA will also be authorized to pay for the license renewal and certification fees required for the continued accreditation of its employees.

SB 228 will now go to the Governor for her approval.

For more information, contact:
Sen. Simpson: (405) 521-5607

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

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