HUD Veterans Affinity Group  


About VAG

The primary purpose of the VAG is to work together with HUD's Diversity Council and HUD employees to promote veteran employment, education, community outreach, and volunteerism while working progressively within the established policies and management goals of HUD. The VAG is convinced that this goal can be accomplished by nurturing a HUD workforce that welcomes and embraces diversity, respects veterans, promotes personal achievement and offers opportunities and encouragement for each and every veteran and their spouses to reach their full potential. VAG is further convinced that this goal will be accomplished by continuing to welcome and embrace the unique differences and similarities that every veteran brings to the workplace.

The VAG will work collectively, to participate and have input in implementing diversity throughout the HUD workforce which will permeate every facet of HUD's structure. Working with the HUD Diversity Council and HUD employees to champion efforts to assist in the development and maintenance of a vital and effective HUD employee workforce by:

  1. Promoting opportunities that demonstrate an appreciation for, and celebrate, the contributions of veterans
  2. Promote veteran contributions
  3. Produce a HUD work environment that is conducive to all employees best performance and in accordance with HUD's values and goals


VAG will work to foster a climate where all HUD employees respect, appreciate, and value individual differences and capitalize on the strengths of our veterans:

  • Educate the HUD workforce on the contributions veterans bring to the workforce
  • Serve as one of the primary voices for HUD veteran employees on the HUD Diversity Council
  • Provide recommendations in the development and implementation of veterans diversity policies
  • Provide recommendations for compliance with the standards for establishing and maintaining effective affirmative programs of equal employment opportunity
  • Provide recommendations toward ensuring compliance, coordination and accountability with the President's Executive Order, dated November 9, 2009, regard Veterans Employment Hiring and Initiatives
  • Advocate for increased veterans and military spouse employment and a positive work environment
  • Advocate and support the HUD Veterans Employment Program Office
  • Advocate to establish an open/transparent relationship with HUD Human Resources, and the Veterans Employment Program Office, for the purpose of advocating effective use of veteran hiring authorities
  • Recommend policies that foster awareness, understanding, education, and encourage employee participation in national, local and departmental events that recognize veterans contributions
  • Encourage employee participation in Town Halls and other open discussions regard issues and challenges veterans and other diversity groups face in the work place
  • Improve veteran's retention and positive work experience and collaboration with HUD's Employee Assistance Program Office
  • Support and encourage diversity, equal treatment and fairness in the work environment for all HUD employees
  • Provide opportunities for HUD employees to better understand and appreciate veterans
  • Strongly encourage support for, and participation in HUD's Veteran Mentor Program

Core Values

  • Professionalism - We understand the importance of a strong work ethic, and take great pride in the important work that we do to support and help strengthen American families. We are committed to achieving excellence in all that we do, including holding ourselves accountable for our work, exhibiting good listening skills, being flexible and open to change in the workplace, by having a positive attitude toward our coworkers, and by enthusiastically serving the public interest. It is a privilege to serve the American people as a HUD employee.

  • Leadership - We are all leaders, whether we are in management or at entry level. Leaders take responsibility for seeing that the job is done according to high professional standards. They provide vision for their work unit; they guide change through effective planning and goal-setting; and they help to build effective working relationships. Leaders inspire esprit de corps by serving as a role model, by sound decision-making, and by treating all people fairly and without bias.

  • Teamwork - We understand that the best way to successfully accomplish our mission is through teamwork. An effective team works together to anticipate potential problems, develop effective plans to help solve those problems, and implement solutions with effective cooperation and communication, and in a manner that makes full use of the human capital and physical resources available to the team.

  • Character - We strive to be honest and forthright individuals, worthy of the trust that the public places in us. We conduct ourselves with integrity at all times, both on and off duty, to ensure compliance with departmental ethics rules and all local laws. We recognize the importance of exercising good judgment in making public statements by way of social media or print and broadcast media, especially where such statements reflect on the actions or activities of the Department.

  • Cost-efficiency - Each of us is responsible for helping to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse in the workplace, by making sure to report those instances to our supervisors or to the appropriate office, wherever they are encountered. We are mindful of the increasing need to streamline and reduce budget expenditures and to thereby reduce the tax burden upon the American people. We are constantly mindful of the need to do more with less.


VAG STEM Innovation Networks

What is the HUD VAG STEM Innovation Networks?

The HUD VAG STEM Innovation Network (VSIN) is a program designed to improve the quality of life for youth and families in public and HUD assisted housing by utilizing state of the art teaching and learning strategies designed to inspire students to commit to a career in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). This approach has the highest potential to break the cycle of poverty for students and their families.  

Who are VAG’s Partners?

HUD VAG has developed formal partnerships with the United States Military Academy (USMA), Department of Defense Army Research Lab (ARL), Corporation for National Community Service, (CNCS), the Ten 80 Education Foundation and the Alpha Phi Alpha Education Foundation. 

How Does it Work?

Workshops are convened whereby West Point professors and cadets train middle school students on building robots, bridges, and drones. These tasks enable students to apply and master scientific and mathematic principles, learn the value of teamwork, and improve self-esteem through achievement. Certificates are awarded to students for successful completion of tasks. West Point tracks the success of the program and aids with students applying for summer internships and who seek to gain admittance to West Point and other universities and colleges upon graduation. Ten 80 high school expos are kick-off events for long-term learning. The Ten 80 National STEM League inspires all students to engage in sustained learning supported by a collaborative network of partners and offers participating in an optional competition league adopted by schools and housing communities in 43 states. Students are invited to own their own business that specializes in racing, robotics, energy technologies or innovations resulting from the combination of hardware and software. Participants collaborate and compete with other VSIN communities benefitting from over ten years of development from Ten 80 engineer-educators and the role models provided by the U.S. Army. VSIN seeks to:

  1. Expose middle school aged students to after-school and summer STEM activities
  2. Provide a high school STEM Scholars enriched ecosystem of authentic, relevant, activity/project-based events
  3. Offer paid internships to high school students at universities and science venues
  4. Train community coaches and provide mentoring to the students
  5. Provide STEM scholarships to students who plan to attend college and major in a STEM program of study
  6. Help students gain employment in a STEM related field upon college graduation

What is the Role of CNCS and AmeriCorps VISTA?

CNCS helps VISTA and AmeriCorps participants to secure resources to help students succeed with their STEM activities, problem solve and help for-profit and nonprofit organizations to collaborate with public housing authorities and affordable housing communities.

What is the Cost to Participate?

There is no cost for enrollment. However, local funding support is needed for the mentoring component.

What is the Return on Investment?

Increased student interest in STEM related fields, a high paying career path for underserved students, new partnerships for HUD and local PHAs, contributions to the fields of teaching and learning, a more diverse population of future scientists, and the potential to permanently break the cycle of poverty for the economically challenged. Other benefits to participants include: improved academic performance, higher likelihood of high school graduation, less delinquent and criminal behavior, and fewer incidents of substance abuse. 

Who to Contact?

 For more information, contact Jerryl E. Bennett at:



Membership in the VAG is open to all HUD veterans, Spouses of Veterans, and HUD employees as Friends of the VAG.




VAG Elected/ Appointed Officers

Jerryl Bennett Chair, STEM Liaison 
Andrea Williamson, Vice Chairman 
Eva Fulton, Chief of Staff 
Jozetta Robinson, Secretary, Board Member 
Isaac (Jim) Newberry, Board Member, Sergeant at Arms
Ebony Grey
Dylan Hayden
Joseph Linhart
Adrenace Williams, Board Member 

Veterans Employment Program Manager: 
Shirley Robinson