U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis speaks with UTSA veterans

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From left, at their visit to UTSA are VA employees Barbara Brookins and Wendy Foster, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and VA employee J. Michael Silva

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(Nov. 14, 2012) -- The University of Texas at San Antonio hosted U.S. Department of Labor Secretary, Hilda L. Solis at the "Young Veterans Forum: Training for the Future" on Wednesday, Oct. 24 at the UTSA Downtown Campus. The conversation centered on veteran's education and training.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff introduced Solis, who discussed how the U.S. Department of Labor assists veterans making the transition from the military to educational or vocational programs and employment. She also answered questions from student veterans on topics such as the difficulty veterans with disabilities have gaining employment, transition assistance programs and in-demand job industries.

The Department of Labor is a strong supporter that helps veterans go from military service to the civilian labor force. Throughout her career, Solis has been a champion of education and training programs for veterans.

"Helping to provide the skills and training that our vets need to succeed when they come home has been one of the most rewarding parts of this job," said Solis.

"We were honored to have Secretary Solis take the time to visit with our student veterans here in San Antonio and provide her insight," said Lisa Firmin, UTSA associate provost for faculty and student diversity and recruitment. Her office organized the secretary's visit.

According to Firmin, UTSA is working hard to serve its large population of student veterans. UTSA certifies more veterans and family members than any other four-year public or private university in Texas. Currently, more than 2,500 UTSA students are using VA educational benefits or Hazelwood benefits to help them through school. Nearly 40 percent of those students are women, and 42.6 percent are Hispanic.

Solis is one of only two presidential cabinet members to visit UTSA in recent years. Last spring, Gabriela Lemus, her senior advisor, visited UTSA to meet with student veterans. Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. secretary of health and human services, was the keynote speaker at a UTSA graduation ceremony in May 2011.