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VA Program Aims to Help Veterans Gain Job Skills

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs touts the Compensated Work Therapy program as a viable way for veterans to transition from military duty to civilian work. The initiative usually starts when veterans are in other programs designed to get them back on their feet. CWT then guides them through vocational training, job searching and training that offers skills that provide long-term employment.

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Peer Support Specialist

The key to the program is a peer support network that pairs a graduate of CWT with someone going through the program. Tim, one peer support specialist, said he came to CWT as he was going through a substance abuse program for alcoholism. He learned to work with other people thanks to the program, and now he counsels fellow veterans because he understands what they’re going through as they get their lives on track.

Win-Win Situation

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Many veterans realize the one thing missing in their lives is working towards a goal, and employment helps with that in a physical, meaningful way. CWT provides psychological counseling while providing jobs on the campus of VA facilities. Orlando, a CWT participant, worked in the coffee shop at a VA facility in Tucson. Another veteran found work landscaping the grounds of the hospital. All the while, these veterans gained skills that led to employment in private firms as they graduated from CWT. Any vet can get help from this program at facilities across the country.

Tailored Approach

Each veteran goes through a tailored approach that takes into account the specific needs of each person. If a veteran enjoys working with computers, an adviser can put the veteran in touch with an IT training program. Since 1984, the program has placed veterans into jobs in numerous industries, including health care, manufacturing, warehouse work, construction and retail, among others. Staffers provide vocational rehab services, job matching, case management, accommodation analysis for ADA compliance and consulting with respect to assistive technology. All of these aspects of CWT combine to provide veterans with meaningful, lifelong employment in civilian life while paying veterans to work at VA facilities during their rehab.

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The CWT pays plenty of dividends as it provides an income for unemployed veterans while they get back on their feet during a transition to a steady career. Do your part to help get veterans the job training they deserve.

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