Helping America's most vulnerable®

The Wages of Valor: Economic and Employment Challenges Facing America’s Veterans

You are Invited

The Wages of Valor: Economic and Employment Challenges Facing America’s Veterans

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

8:45–9:15 a.m.: Coffee/Networking
9:30–11 a.m.: Panel Discussion and Q&A

National Press Club Ballroom
529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor, Washington, DC 20045

Please join Volunteers of America for the release of revealing new research—conducted in partnership with the University of Southern California’s Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families—focused on the often harsh economic realities faced by America’s veterans after they return home. A panel discussion will dive more deeply into the issues, strategies and solutions illuminated by the research.Job training and employment, affordable housing, and the physical and mental barriers to self sufficiency will be explored.


View the Research


David Gregory is an award-winning political journalist and former moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press. A longtime contributor to NBC News, he reported regularly for the Today Show, and was a frequent contributor to MSNBC's political coverage. Having reported everywhere from press conferences to Air Force One to political roundtables, he has interviewed notable figures responsible for nearly every policy change and political maneuver that affects the United States, and delivers sharp insight into the political changes of the day.

Opening Remarks:

Jonathan Sherin, MD, PhD, Executive Vice President, Military Communities and Chief Medical Officer, Volunteers of America

Anthony Hassan, EdD, LCSW, Director, Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families, University of Southern California 


Robert Gordon is a retired Army colonel and president of Be the Change, Inc., a social impact organization that creates and manages national issue-based campaigns, including the veteran-focused Got Your 6 initiative. Previously, he was appointed in 2010 by the Obama Administration as the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy. While at the Department of Defense, he created the Military Spouse Employment Partnership, which has provided jobs to more than 60,000 military spouses since it inception in 2011.

Sara Kintzle is an assistant professor of research in the University Of Southern California’s School of Social Work. She joined the USC Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families in 2013, and has focused on military behavioral health research for the past seven years. Her research interests include the transition from military service, issues of mental health, military and veteran suicide, military sexual trauma, crisis intervention, and the assessment and treatment of trauma.

Debbie McKinley is senior director of human resources for The Home Depot, where she oversees the company’s veteran recruitment and training efforts. Prior to joining The Home Depot, she served on active duty for nine years in the United States Marine Corps as an aviation supply officer. After beginning her career wit The Home Depot in 2002, she continued to serve as a Reservist, retiring as a Major in 2014.

Jim Zenner is program manager of Volunteers of America Los Angeles’ Hollywood Veterans Center, and a leader in Volunteers of America’s Battle Buddy Bridge veteran peer support program. He joined the Army after the Iraq invasion in 2003, leaving his job as restaurant manager to serve his country in and to seek a higher education. After deployment to Iraq, he and left active duty in 2008. Since earning his masters of social work in 2010, he has dedicated himself to assisting homeless veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, including helping them advance their educations or enter the workforce