Late Breaking News
VA Tests Innovative Solutions to Veteran Unemployment Cont.
- Categorized in: Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), News, November 2011, PTSD, TBI
Legislators are hoping to begin tackling this disparity in the Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) Act. The bill has provisions focusing on transition assistance for servicemembers, education and training, and removing roadblocks to licensing and credentialing. The bill overwhelmingly passed the House in October and is awaiting discussion in the Senate.
VA is putting not only funding but also brainpower behind the problem of veteran unemployment. The department recently announced its latest round of VA Innovation Initiative (VAi2) projects, all of which deal with helping veterans with disabilities obtain meaningful employment. The six projects were identified through an Employee Innovation Competition that had thousands of VA employees vote for the most worthy projects, which were eventually chosen by VA leadership.
Weeks signing pledge: Ray Weeks, vice president of Prudential Financial’s Veterans Initiatives, signs the Veterans Employment Pledge.
The projects will be developed, tested and, if successful, implemented nationwide in VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Program.
The six new projects in the VAi2 program include: a paid internship program to help veterans gain private-sector work experience; support systems for OIF/OEF veteran-students with a traumatic brain injury or PTSD to increase the likelihood of graduating and getting a job; development of a mentorship program for veterans from the employment community; providing Mental Health First Aid training to VR&E employees to increase their understanding of mental illness, including PTSD, and enable them to provide the highest level of service; online verification of eligibility for VR&E services; and enhancements to the disbursement of education benefits in the form of a pre-loaded debit card for purchasing books and supplies.
These projects join 10 previously chosen innovations that will be funded through the Veterans Benefits Administration employee competitions. Another 20 have been funded through the Veterans Health Administration. These 36 were selected from nearly 10,000 submissions.
According to VA, as innovations that are funded gain a track record for success, they hope that VAi2 grows to a greater number of projects chosen.