Outreach Guide: Veterans

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The rehabilitation counseling profession originated in response to the rehabilitation and employment needs of World War I military veterans. From providing basic return-to-work services to men with physical injuries returning from WWI in 1918, the State VR system has evolved to serve all people deemed to have a disability, offering holistic services from as early as the teen years through adulthood. The definition of disability has expanded to recognize non-visible disabilities and VR services strive for outcomes resulting in quality employment and full participation in society for people with disabilities.

The Changed Nature of War and Disability

The nature of war and advances in medical treatments have also evolved over time. Changes in weaponry, body armor technology, and available medical interventions have resulted in more than 90% of injured military personnel in recent wars surviving injuries that would likely have been fatal in previous wars (Hyer, 2006; Lew et al., 2007). In addition, mental health conditions are recognized as disabilities; more than 20% of Veterans receive a mental health diagnosis when discharged (Hoge et al., 2007).

Many injured Veterans return to civilian life with complex disabilities and needs as a result of these changes. Veterans are more likely than non-Veterans to experience employment difficulties and homelessness than non-Veterans.

State VR: Uniquely Poised to Serve Veterans

Many may assume Veterans with disabilities are eligible for services through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). However, although 21.8% of US military Veterans have a service-connected disability, many do not or would not be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services from the VA.

With its history and experience of serving people with disabilities, the state VR system is uniquely poised to effectively serve Veterans with disabilities who are not eligible for services from the US. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), or who need services in addition to those received from the VA.

Understanding of and collaboration with federal systems that provide services to Veterans is necessary for vocational rehabilitation professionals to provide effective services that result in quality employment to Veterans.

Accept the Challenge

Providing Veterans with services can present unique challenges due to the potentially complex nature of their disability and the possibly confusing array of services that may or may not be available to them. However, Veterans offer unique strengths and experiences to employers that could positively impact the employers’ bottom lines and overall work culture.

Accept the challenge to serve the Veterans who have served us. You may see individual lives and whole communities transformed as a result of your collaborative effort. Here are some resources to get you started.

Outreach Resources

Use these resources to better connect and engage with Veterans in your community.

Recommended Resources from TACQE and Partners

On-Demand Training

More TACQE Resources

Resources from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

  • The VA’s Veterans Readiness and Employment program (VR&E) provides VR services to eligible service members and Veterans with service-connected disabilities to help them prepare for, obtain, and maintain suitable employment or achieve independent living.
  • Learn about eligibility requirements for Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E)
    Eligibility for Veteran Readiness and Employment
  • This guide explains VA benefits and the services and tools earned through service to our country. The information included is for all members of the U.S. Armed Forces, including members of the reserve components. It also applies to families, care givers and survivors.
    VA Benefits and Services Participant Guide
  • The Veteran Employment Services Office (VESO) provides employment readiness assistance and outreach to transitioning service members and Veterans, while advocating use of special hiring authorities, employment programs, and Veteran retention strategies to help VA become the employer of choice for Veterans.
    Fact Sheet: Veteran Employment Services Office (VESO)
  • Resources for job seekers includes resume and interview preparation, mentoring, apprenticeship and training programs, as well as resources for military spouses and caregivers.
    Resources for Job Seekers from Hiring Our Heroes: U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation
  • This Resume Building Guide describes the federal recruiting process at a high level, identifies the characteristics of good and bad resumes, provides samples of good resumes and cover letters, and presents many excellent resources sponsored by VA and the VA for Vets program.
    VA for Vets: Resume Building Guide
  • USAJOBS is where all Federal agencies advertise job opportunity announcements. This resource offers tips to Veterans applying for Federal employment through USAJOBS.
    Tips for Transitioning Military Service Members
  • Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) develops partnerships with organizations, companies, and government agencies who need employees with proven abilities to produce high quality work.
    Compensated Work Therapy (CWT)
  • Employment readiness assistance and outreach to transitioning service members, Veterans, and eligible military spouses.
    Veteran and Military Spouse Talent Engagement Program

Resources for Employers

  • Studies have shown veterans are more productive and have higher retention rates than their civilian counterparts. Employers recognize the value veterans bring to the workplace but often find it challenging to connect with transitioning service members and veterans seeking employment. This guide provides accurate information, useful resources, and recommendations for employers.
    Employer Guide to Hiring Veterans
  • Answers to employers’ frequently asked questions about how organizations can benefit from sourcing and recruiting veterans with disabilities.
    The Employer Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion

      Other Resources

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