RENO - The Nevada Office of Veteran Services (NOVS) announces the next phase of the Green Zone Initiative with the launch of the Green Zone Network (GZN) to be unveiled during a one-day summit on Aug. 14.

GZN is the culmination of the strategic plan initiative to realign assets for veterans in both the public and private sectors in the areas of employment, education and wellness throughout Nevada.

"The Green Zone Network is an innovative approach to create communication and access for veterans and their family members throughout the state," said Executive Director Caleb Cage. "This is a two-way resource for the veteran community and the public to learn about opportunities in the both the public and private sectors. It will be the portal where the general public can connect with veterans, where veterans can connect with veterans, and where we can make a welcoming community throughout our state." 

 The GZN launch will take place at the Las Vegas City Hall with and will offer a full day of presentations. Attendees will be joined by and hear from honored guests Gov. Brian Sandoval and Federal VA Under Secretary for Benefits Allison Hickey along with other veteran and community leaders from around the state.

The morning session will include an overview of the overall effort of Green Zone, an introduction to the social networking site, and establishment of Veteran Community Councils (VCCs) throughout the Nevada.

"The VCCs will be very important to the Green Zone Network's ongoing development moving forward," says Cage. "Through these councils we will be able to get continuous feedback of the needs of veterans in community and most important, the benefits and opportunities in the three focus areas of employment, education and wellness."

The VCCs will include veteran, business and community leaders within each area they represent and will serve as a clearinghouse for ideas and help promote GZN within their communities.

After lunch is provided, concurrent afternoon sessions will be held to focus individually on each of the primary areas of the Green Zone Initiative-employment, education and wellness.

A business that wants to hire veterans in Minden can list its opportunity on GZN. At the same time, a veteran who has a desire to move to the Minden area will have the ability to find it.

In education, a math tutor that wants to help and veterans at UNLV can list their services to assist veterans and veterans will be able search and find that math tutoring assistance as well.

"Anyone, anywhere wishing to connect to veterans will now have a portal to do so and veterans will have access to what the Defense Department has called 'The Sea of Goodwill' in a way never before attempted in Nevada," said Cage.

The development of GZN began the fall of 2012 after the publishing of the Green Zone Initiative report. The report was based on convenings held throughout the state with veteran, education, business and health leaders who came together to help identify both assets and gaps in each of their sectors.

"It was from these meetings and conversations where we came away with a real idea of what the veterans landscape in Nevada was," said Cage. "The Green Zone Network will be the home where all of these ideas and solutions can develop and grow."

The digital platform will not only benefit veterans coming back from the Middle East, but will also help the existing veteran population, family members, caretakers and others in finding services to help them.

"It's true, we do need to provide better coordination of benefits to veterans," said Cage. "The Green Zone Initiative and the Green Zone Network is where we, as the state of Nevada, can elevate the conversation about veterans in Nevada. Where we and they can discover more about the role they can have in the future of our state as contributors."

When the veteran is seen as a resource and not just someone in need of more benefits, communities become stronger by embracing veterans and their attributes.

"There are many gaps to be filled for veterans," said Cage. "Communication is the most pressing need we have, and I believe the Green Zone Network can and will be a great step forward in that respect."

 To follow announcements leading up to the launch date, signup at www.greenzonenetwork.org. Follow the Facebook page Greenzonenetwork.org and Twitter GreenZoneNetwork@GreenZoneNV.