Vocational and Educational Support for Veterans
Author(s): Ellison, Marsha L.; Drebing, Charles; Mueller, Lisa; Delman, Jonathan; Mistler, Lisa
Organizational Author(s): University of Massachusetts; Boston University
Funding source not identified
Resource Availability: Publicly available
This resource provides an overview of the practices of the Individual Placement and Support model developed by the Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center, which are aimed at promoting veteran employment.
“Veterans with co-occurring disorders can and do want to work. Additionally, many may wish to further their education. Though barriers to these achievements can be formidable, there are several VA programs that can be accessed to promote Veteran employment, including Vet Success and Supported Employment. Community supports include One-Stop Career Centers. The unique challenges to employment have been successfully addressed by the principles and practices of the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model developed by the Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center. These principles and practices, adapted from a published guide on supported employment, are listed and described in this chapter. They include competitive integrated employment in the community based on Veteran preference, rapid job entry, unlimited and varying intensity of support on the job, and integration with a clinical team” (p.. 70). (Abstractor: Author)
Major Findings & Recommendations
Veterans with a service-connected disability of at least 10% who received an honorable discharge can apply for Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) or 'Vet Success’ services… The Compensated Work Therapy Program (CWT) programs mission is to provide realistic and meaningful vocational opportunities to Veterans, encouraging successful reintegration into the community at the Veterans highest functional level. Veterans are eligible for CWT if they are homeless, have mental illness, physical disability, and/or are diagnosed with substance abuse. Veterans will need to be clinically stable and abstinent from substance use… CWT also offers supported employment at every VA MC in the country. Supported Employment (SE) provides vocational services to those Veterans with psychosis, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and other Serious Mental Illness' (SMI) who need the highest level of staff support offered by this program in order to obtain competitive, meaningful employment… Principles and practices of Supported Employment: Supported Employment practices useful in promoting the employment of veterans include, "(1) zero exclusion of veterans wishing to work; (2) integration of vocational and treatment services; (3) linking veterans with competitive employment opportunities; (4) providing veterans with benefits planning; (5) rapid job search; (6) follow-along supports; and (7) veteran preferences" regarding decisions about the types of jobs that are sought, number of hours worked, SE services provided, and disclosure of disabilities… Key skills/tasks essential for supported education include interacting with the campus system, [such as contacting and getting] information or assistance from staff members of administrative departments such as admissions, financial aid, or the registrar...[making] contact with specific instructors or professors to negotiate accommodations or to problem solve if the Veteran is having trouble in a particular class...attempt to identify an advocate or support person on campus...[and] Determine the number of classes in which the Veteran should enroll, or whether to enroll as a part-time or full-time student. Although the GI Bill provides many benefits, Veterans may need assistance in deciding whether to use the GI Bill or other VA supports (p. 71-74). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)'