Employment for America’s Heroes
A breakout session at the recent conference focused on employment strategies and support available for returning veterans interested in going back to work.
The panel, moderated by SAMHSA’s Crystal Blyler from the Agency’s Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), included representatives from the Departments of Labor (DOL) and Veterans Affairs (VA), and the Social Security Administration (SSA), as well as the National Business Group on Health (NBGH).
To help returning veterans with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder (see Treating War’s Signature Injury) succeed in the workplace, Susan Parker from the DOL’s Office of Disability Employment Policy described a new multiagency initiative—America’s Heroes at Work.
“The intended audience of America’s Heroes at Work,” Ms. Parker explained, “is employers.” The program’s goal is to raise awareness of the resources available to assist employers in hiring returning veterans.
Working collaboratively with “a dozen departments and other entities,” including SAMHSA’s CMHS and the SSA, the initiative is an employer-focused education and outreach plan that targets the workforce development community and state agencies.
The recently launched DOL Web site includes common employer questions, fact sheets and brochures, veterans’ employment success stories, and Web-based training tools.
Other session highlights:
- Ron Finch from NBGH discussed the potential impact of returning veterans on employer-sponsored health plans and worksite programs.
- The Social Security Administration’s Jason Olsen described the renewed emphasis on and a revitalization of the Ticket to Work program, helping people with disabilities go back to work.
- Jacqueline Haynes, with the VA’s Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, talked about the various services and opportunities that the VA offers.