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

For Immediate Release: May 8, 2013

Sen. Frank Simpson
Sen. Frank Simpson

Governor signs bill to provide more educational and training opportunities to veteran center staff

Staff at Oklahoma’s veterans centers will soon have access to more educational and training opportunities thanks to legislation signed late Tuesday by Governor Fallin. Sen. Frank Simpson said his Senate Bill 228, creating the Quality Workforce for Oklahoma’s Heroes Act, will help substantially improve services at the centers.

“This legislation will allow top performing employees within the Department of Veterans Affairs to pursue a degree in a healthcare field. Our hope is that this will lead to a more professional and stable workforce at our veterans centers; and a better trained staff will improve the quality of care our veterans receive,” said Simpson, R-Ardmore. “This new program should also yield significant savings to ODVA as turnover at our veterans centers costs the agency an estimated $4.2 million per year. If we can just cut the turnover rate in half we’ll see tremendous savings and improved services.”

SB 228 will authorize ODVA to contract with accredited institutions to establish education and training programs for positions critical to the quality of care of veterans residing within ODVA institutions. Top performing employees will be eligible for the additional education and training. The Act will provide a financial incentive to these individuals by covering the costs of the program in exchange for them agreeing to continue working for the agency for a specified amount of time. Upon graduation, employees will earn credit towards their loan repayment for each day worked. Violators of the work contract will be required to repay their debt, any interest and attorney fees to the Department with the only exception being those who volunteer or are drafted into active military service.

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 go into effect on November 1, 2013.

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

Inon: Horizontal Blue Band

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