“An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.”
- Bill Vaughan
Once again, it’s been an eventful year for America’s military community, and as 2011 draws to a close, the need for support and access to resources will only grow. Reflecting this, we’ve also had an action-packed year at the National Resource Directory (NRD).
Since launching in late 2008, the NRD has grown into an expansive portal of nearly 14,000 resources for wounded warriors, Service members, veterans, family members and caregivers. These resources come from a variety of organizations that provide services and programs to support America’s military community.
The NRD team works hard to spread the word about these resources to anyone and everyone who wants and needs them. And while we constantly look for additional organizations, charities and job opportunities to add, what has always set the NRD apart is not quantity, but rather quality. The site is managed on a daily basis by subject matter experts, and each resource added to the NRD goes through a vetting process.
To deliver this quality to users without interruption, whether they’re sitting in front of acomputer or not, we launched a mobile version in April. This version offers an easier interface for users to browse the NRD resources on the go.
In October, we added a Twitter feedto our social media menu as another means of keeping users and organizations up to date on improvements to the site, as well as current news affecting the veteran and military communities.
Most recently, we worked in concert with public and private partners to launch the Veterans Job Bank. Officially launched as part of the White House’s Veterans Day observations, the Veterans Job Bank provides a convenient and reliable resource for veterans to identify job opportunities while also helping employers find qualified veterans for their vacancies. With nearly one million jobs currently available through the resource, the needle is moving in the right direction in the ongoing quest to help transitioning Service members find employment.
This year, we also developed several tools aimed at reducing the often costly duplication of efforts for organizations serving the veteran and military communities. The NRD now offers three widgets that allow users to quickly and easily embed NRD content in their own online space. These widgets offer access to resources by state and subject as well as a direct search option of the entire NRD database, including the ability to search for jobs using the Veterans Job Bank.
While 2011 may be coming to a close, we already are thinking ahead to ways to improve the NRD in 2012. We are working to add new capabilities and simplify the user experience in order to better connect Service members and veterans to the information they need – now and in the years to come.
Our commitment to wounded warriors, veterans, Service members, their families and all who support them remains as strong as ever, and with the return of our final troops from Iraq as well as the expected gradual drawdown in Afghanistan, the need – or more accurately, the demand – for access to resources will undoubtedly increase. The NRD will be there to meet the challenge.