SPRINGFIELD, IL â€“ Erica Jeffries was confirmed as the Director of the Illinois Department of Veteransâ€™ Affairs (IDVA) by the Illinois Senate in a unanimous vote.
â€œI am honored with this confirmation, and look forward to working with the men and women of the Illinois Department of Veteransâ€™ Affairs to provide great services and support to our Illinois veterans and their families,â€ Director Jeffries said. â€œUnder the leadership of Governor Rauner, we will strive to improve the lives of our veterans, focusing on mental healthcare, employment, and education.Â Our mission is to create opportunities for our veterans to thrive.â€
In the corporate world, Jeffries joined Exelis Inc., a global aerospace and defense corporation, in June 2012.Â In July 203, she became the Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer for the more than 10,000 Exelis employees worldwide. While there she was responsible for all training, learning and development relating to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.Â She also developed and led the Leveraging Military Leadership Program, Exelisâ€™ signature corporate philanthropy program helping more than 200 veterans to gain employment.
Jeffries served as the Acting Director following her arrival for duty on Tuesday, February 17, 2015, when she took over from Harry Sawyer, who was serving as the Interim Director after the change in administration.
The IDVAâ€™s mission is to empower veterans and their families to thrive and does so by assisting them in navigating the system of federal, state and local resources and benefits; by providing long-term health care for eligible veterans in the four Veteransâ€™ Homes; and by partnering with other agencies and non-profits to help veterans address education, mental health, housing, employment, and other challenges.
In government service, Jeffries served as a White House Fellow (2010-2011), and worked at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) where she focused on building domestic and international public-private partnerships. Her primary role was in developing investment strategies with international corporations to provide sustainable solutions at the state and local levels.Â She later received an appointment to serve as the Senior Advisor to the EPA Chief Financial Officer.
Prior to her White House Fellowship, Ms. Jeffries was an Associate with Booz Allen Hamilton where she specialized in defense strategy and national security policy supporting government clients both domestically and internationally.
Following her graduation from the United States Military Academy at West Point, Jeffries served as an active duty Army aviation officer. She was a platoon leader and an Executive Officer in an Aviation battalion as a UH-60L Blackhawk helicopter pilot, and later as the Assistant Secretary of the General Staff (ASGS) for all of III Corps and Fort Hood, one of the Armyâ€™s largest installations. She was medically retired from the Army in 2003.
Jeffries holds a Bachelor of Science in International Relations and Systems Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point; a Master of Arts in National Security Studies from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University; and a Master of Business Administration from the Pamplin School of Business at Virginia Tech University.
Jeffries established her home in Illinois in 2014 and currently resides with her family in Chicago.
Illinoisâ€™ long and proud history of service to veterans began in 1886 with the establishment of the Illinois Soldiersâ€™ and Sailorsâ€™ Home for Civil War Veterans. Created through legislation enacted in 1945, the Illinois Veteransâ€™ Commission was responsible for state services to veterans until 1976, when it was succeeded by the Illinois Department of Veteransâ€™ Affairs (IDVA). The IDVA, created by Public Act 79-376, is charged with responsibility for the welfare and needs of Illinois veterans, their dependents and survivors. IDVA maintains administrative offices in Springfield and Chicago, four veteransâ€™ homes, and more than 71 full and part-time field offices servicing the 102 counties of the state.