March 05, 2021

Veterans Affairs board considers virtual outreach event

Task list created to measure director’s work with area veterans

The Jasper County Veterans Affairs board is now considering planning a virtual outreach event in early spring.

The board of commissioners met for its January meeting and continued to discuss options for the outreach event that has been put on hold since last spring. Veteran affairs director Kurt Jackson told the group a date hadn’t been set. Then, commissioner Jerry Nelson pitched the virtual idea.

“Would that be something worth looking at doing as a virtual event. Set it up as a Zoom meeting. You won’t be able to get a lot of the older folks possibly involved. I think it’s worth looking at as a zoom,” Nelson said.

Jackson was originally skeptical of the idea because the event’s purpose is for veterans to be able to visit with representatives and employers about the potential benefits a veteran could be eligible for. Commissioner Matt Smith then referenced a virtual resource fair held by the Iowa Works office in Davenport.

The event was set up with a drive thru aspect so attendees could pick up a packet of information that would have potentially been handed out during the in-person event. Representatives from these groups were then available for a Zoom meeting to answer any questions people may have about the information.

“I can call the Iowa Works office in Davenport to see how that went if they feel it was worth it,” Smith said.

The commissioners all agreed that most people are having to get creative host events like this during the pandemic. The board would also consider putting items like a T-shirt or a gift card in each packet as a bonus for people who drive thru to pick up the information packets.

Jackson said he would reach out a few potential vendors at the event to see if there was any early interest in a virtual event.

The board will continue its discussion about the outreach event during its February meeting and potentially look at dates in late March or early April if the virtual format becomes viable.

In other business, the board is working on creating a metric that will help the veterans affairs director and the veterans service officer extensively track the outreach requirements in the job description.

This task list will provide a metric for the board to have monthly, quarterly and annual measurable and quantifiable goals.

A list has been generated of what this spreadsheet-style task list should include but discussion surrounded what the commission can do with that list. Smith volunteered to look at the products he has available to him to generate an example for the commission to look at and approve.

He will plan to present the draft of the program at the next commissioners meeting. Nelson believes that what they come up with isn’t set in stone, but the board will have the opportunity to adapt the task list as it is put into action.

“Some of these things are going to work great and some of them maybe won’t work so great. We can add some and maybe take some away,” Nelson said. “I would like to see us get it on board by March or April.”

Discussion about the metric will continue at the February meeting to see if the item can be put into action soon.

Contact Pam Pratt at 641-792-3121 ext. 6530 or pampratt@newtondailynews.com

Pam Pratt

I have been at the Newton News since October 2014. I started as the Associate Editor and was promoted to Editor in April 2019.