Notes or comments In June 2009, more than 2,800 soldiers from the New Jersey National Guard returned home. (11/2007) ARE THEY READY TO WORK? For example , a survey conducted by Military.com, a community Web site for the military and veterans owned by Monster Worldwide, indicated that Among employers - • Sixty-one percent reveal they do not have a complete understanding of the qualifications ex-service members offer. • Sixty-four percent feel that veterans need additional assistance to make a successful transition into the civilian job-seeking market, with 27 percent citing the need for stronger interviewing skills. Among veterans: • Fifty-three percent of employers spend two percent or less of their recruitment advertising budget on targeted military hiring. Eightty-two percent feel unprepared to negotiate salary and benefits. • Eightty-six percent report an inability to effectively translate their military skills to civilian terms. • Fifty-eight percent are unsure of how to network professionally.
FOR EXAMPLE - Homeless veterans may avoid or be turned away by other program and services, veterans who have problems such as severe posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), long histories of substance abuse, serious psychosocial problems, legal issues, and those who are HIV-positive. These veterans require more time-consuming, specialized, intensive assessment, referrals and counseling than is possible in other programs that work with veterans seeking employment.The Veterans Transitional Housing Program (Veterans Haven) is a New Jersey State operated facility for homeless veterans. After being medically evaluated at a VA Medical Center, eligible veterans must agree to a long term program focusing on psychological, social and vocational rehabilitation. Veterans admitted to Veterans Haven come to a 54 bed, addictions free program with staff who are sensitive to the multiple needs they present. ONLY 54 beds.
BREAKING NEWS – NOV 27, 2009 – Levels of mental-health problems among former U.S. servicemen have increased dramatically since the U.S. invasion of Iraq.The study, conducted by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the University of California, San Francisco, also found that more than one in three veterans enrolled in the veterans health system has been diagnosed with a mental health disorder.But despite the increase in mental health problems, veterans are still hesitant to seek help. Past research has shown that, of service members who display symptoms of PTSD and other mental health issues, only 4 out of 10 have sought help from a therapist or other mental health professional.Stigma is a contributing factor..Reasons for not seeking treatment include worry about what others would think, fear of hurting their military career and concern that seeking help is a sign of weakness.
Documentation examples, if you want to mention - this may be more critical than collaborative but it does point to gaps in services to veterans: VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment: Better Incentives, Workforce Planning, and Performance Reporting Could Improve ProgramGeneral Accounting Office -09-34 January 26, 2009 – report excerpt:“VR&E has improved its capacity to provide services by increasing its collaboration with other organizations and by hiring more staff, but it lacks a strategic approach to workforce planning. Although there have been staff increases, many of VR&E's regional offices still reported staff and skill shortages.”AMONG its recommendations – “To ensure that the current and future needs of veterans are met, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct VR&E to engage in a strategic workforce planning process that collects and uses relevant data, such as information on the appropriate counselor caseload and the critical skills and competencies needed by staff.”
5 Tracks to Employment:ReemploymentRapid Access to EmploymentSelf-EmploymentEmployment Through Long-Term ServicesIndependent Living ServicesOther References- McGuire-Kuletz, M., Shivers, S., & Anderson, P. (Eds.).2008). When Johnny (or Jeannie) comes marching home . .. and back to work: Linking Veterans Affairs and state vocational rehabilitation services for service men and women (Institute on Rehabilitation Issues Monograph No.34). Washington, DC: The George Washington University, Center for Rehabilitation Counseling Research and Education.
Selected potential benefits to homeless veterans -More effective outreach to veterans living on the streets and in shelters who otherwise would not seek assistance;
CARF-accredited service providers meet the highest national and international standards for quality, such as employing qualified professional staff. NISH works to create employment opportunities for people with severe disabilities by securing Federal contracts through the Ability One Program. NISH works through a network of more than 1300 non-profit agencies. Abilities Center became a NISH affiliate in 2009. Abilities Center – experienced and effective
Since Abilities Center of Southern New Jersey has a mobile evaluation team, vocational assessments can be arranged throughout various locations in southern New Jersey. It is expected that this feature will also increase veterans’ participation.
EXAMPLES - 1) “Posttraumatic stress disorder and employment in veterans participating in Veterans Health Administration Compensated Work Therapy”Sandra G. Resnick, PhD, Robert A.Rosenheck, MD. Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development Volume 45, Number 3, 2008Pages 427–438 “These findings suggest that PTSD is a significant obstacle to employment, even after adjusting for potentially confounding factors including service era and service in various theaters of operations. VHA is currently renewing its commitment to evidence-based mental health treatment, including increased amounts and types of services for individuals with PTSD .” (p 437)2) Invisible Wounds: Predicting the Immediate and Long-Term Consequences of Mental Health Problems in Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom BENJAMIN R. KARNEY, RAJEEV RAMCHAND,KAREN CHAN OSILLA, LEAH B. CALDARONE, AND RACHEL M. BURNSWR- Rand Center for Military Health Policy Research, April 2008 “PTSD, depression, and TBI have all been associated with labor market outcomes.Specifically, there is compelling evidence indicating that these conditions will impact returningservice members return to employment, their productivity at work, and their future job prospectsas indicated by impeded educational attainment. However, these findings should be interpretedcautiously… Thus, poor performance in the workplace can influence the development of mental health symptoms or enhance symptoms that may already exist.”
PROGRAM SUMMARIES - Just FYI, not for narration . The CWT and IT programs provide assistance to veterans unable to work and support themselves. Under the CWT program, VA contracts with private industry and the public sector for work by veterans, who learn new job skills, strengthen successful work habits and regain a sense of self-esteem and self-worth. Veterans are compensated by VA for their work and, in turn, improve their economic and social well-being. REALifelines Advisor provides valuable information and access to contact information for one-on-one employment assistance and online resources to assist wounded and injured transitioning service members and veterans in their reintegration into the civilian workforce. (intended for wounded and injured, intended for all. The Transition Assistance Program (TAP) workshops have provided job-searchassistance to well over one million separating and retiring military members andtheir spouses since 1990. Participants will learn how to writeeffective resumes and cover letters, proper interviewing techniques, and the mostcurrent methods for successful job searches. The workshops further provide labormarket conditions, assessing individual skills and competencies, informationregarding licensing and certification requirements for certain career fields andup-to-date information regarding veteran benefits.
This graphically describes the concept behind SNJ Veterans@Home, through which there is a continuing relationship with the VA throughout the process.
Continued graphic representation – repeats information with a different visual.
Thank you for the opportunity to introduce you to Abilities Center of Southern New Jersey.
Veterans Employment Services Abilities Center Work Where You Live2010
Regional Solutions forSouthern New Jersey’s Veterans Partner Title Comprehensive Vocational Rehabilitation Services Name benjamin-fr anklin- bridge.jpg Title Company
He left southernNew Jersey toserve our country.He’s home again -but there’s no jobwaiting.He wants to workwhere he lives,back in southernNew Jersey. Southern New Jersey’s veterans need
Homeless VeteransHow Many Need Vocational Rehabilitation?Estimates show at least6000- 8000 homelessveterans in New Jersey.Veterans returning fromAfghanistan and Iraqare falling intohomelessness soonerthan veterans of earlierconflicts.160 appeared at “StandDown” in Cherry Hill,NJ in May 2009. Southern New Jersey’s Veteran Population Needs Resources at Home – Especially the Homeless
Mental Health Problems Veterans returning after No previous tours One or more previous toursmore than one tour of duty 30present more mental health 25.4problems. 25 20 Veterans returning from 14 14.1Operations Enduring 15Freedom and Iraqi Freedom 9 10(OEF/OIF) frequently 6.6 6.6 4.2present with multiple 5 2.3psychological and physical 0symptoms. Depression Alcohol Dependence PTSD Depression, Alcohol or PTSD This population needs toaccess the VA Five-TrackService Delivery System Preliminary Findings from the Pre-Deployment Survey of the New Jersey National Guard 2007-2008 Department of Military andwithout delay. Veterans Affairs VA, New Jersey Health Care System, Bloustein Center for Survey Research, Rutgers University
PROBLEM:Veterans face barriers toemployment services and job placement Southern New Jersey veterans face barriers in accessing services that require appearance in Philadelphia, from transportation to time required to participate. Veterans with disabilities are even more burdened, whether physically impaired or diagnosed with mental health disorders which may impair capacity to travel to Philadelphia. Opportunities to find work in southern New Jersey are intrinsically less available when veterans receive services out of the area where they live. Numerous eligible veterans may overwhelm the Regional VA services when they return from active duty and face unforeseen delays. Homeless veterans number in the thousands; it is a tragedy best remedied with services close to home.
SOLUTION:Tell Southern New Jersey’s VeteransYou CAN Abilities Center of SNJ has conceptualized a dynamic program for veterans – . Through , the Regional VA Office will have a competent partner with nearly 50 years of experience delivering vocational rehabilitation services and a network of resources throughout southern New Jersey. Abilities Center SNJ has a proven capacity to deliver this program and collaborate with the VA. Abilities Center SNJ can be part of delivering the VA’s Five-Track Service Delivery System.
Vocational EvaluationPhiladelphia VA - Makes Referral Services Job Placement or Coordinate Follow-up Training with VA demonstrates Abilities Center’s capacity to bridge the gap indelivering skilled services for veterans who live in southern New Jersey, contractingas a collaborative partner with Veterans Affairs Philadelphia Regional Office (medical and benefits).
:Measurable Benefits to Veterans inSouthern New Jersey Mobile services for Veterans who face transportation barriers in accessing services; SNJ@Home skilled staff to meet identified Regional VA demand in southern New Jersey and increase participation of eligible Veterans; Capability to reach homeless veterans as referred; Culturally competent services address populations’ needs; Demonstrated capacity to effectively provide job placement ; Ready to reach more veterans as those deployed come home to southern New Jersey; Realistic opportunity for southern New Jersey veterans to pursue program goal to
Abilities Center SNJ:History and Mission Abilities Center of Southern New Jersey (SNJ) is a 501c3 nonprofit corporation which opened its doors nearly 50 years ago to provide employment services for people with disabilities. The Center forged a strong relationship with our nation’s veterans early on, providing evaluation and job placement services to Viet Nam veterans. The Center now provides workforce development services to people with disabilities and other disadvantages which may be barriers to employment. Abilities Center SNJ is responsive to regional needs and has augmented its services during its nearly 50 year history. Services now include vocational evaluation (short and long- term), center-based transitional services, community-based and competitive employment in hundreds of businesses across the region and youth programs in conjunction with school districts.
Abilities Center SNJ:Our Organizational Capacity Abilities Center SNJ has increased its consumer population by 800 percent over the past 15 years and diversified its services to meet community need; From one site, the Center has expanded to deliver services in the eight counties of southern New Jersey; It has developed relationships for job placement throughout the region. Abilities Center SNJ provides CARF-accredited services. NISH affiliate (2009) Ticket-to-work provider
:Program Highlights ’s skilled, experienced staff is qualified to meetvocational rehabilitation services for veterans who live in southern NewJersey; may launch a secure web site for veterans as aregional resource among the eight counties of southern New Jersey;Advisory board for will include local members ofveterans’ fraternal organizations.Vocational rehabilitation services will be customized to Veterans Affairs’requirements;Vocational evaluation services may be short-term or long-term, on site atCenter or mobile locations in SJ convenient to the veteran;Access to Abilities Center’s network of community partners to meetveterans’ preferences for training and job placement in southern NewJersey, making it possible to say
Meeting Needs of Veterans:PTSD, TBI and Mental Health Abilities Center SNJ, through is prepared to coordinate services to ensure veterans diagnosed with PTSD, TBI and mental health diagnosis receive appropriate services. Stigma and self-stigma are barriers to employment that SNJVeterans@Home seeks to overcome. can be part of an integrated system of care in which primary care providers, polytrauma specialists, Abilities Center’s vocational rehabilitation specialists, and mental health clinicians work together.
Coordination of Services withPhiladelphia’s Regional VA Center of SNJ may complement or replicate, as required, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Service Division (VR&E) within the VBA Regional Office (RO), including initial evaluation of the Veteran to determine his or her entitlement for these services and assistance and develops, in cooperation with the Veteran, an Individualized Written Plan of Services. (Determination of entitlement remains with VA.) Alternatively, Abilities Center is prepared to step in at various points congruous with VA Regional Office requirements. Rehabilitation plans may include all of the following, depending upon Regional VA requirements: Individualized Written Rehabilitation Plans (IWRP) that outlines training and job placement services needed to achieve employment goals; employment placement under an Individualized Employment Assistance Plan (IEAP); Individualized Extended Evaluation Plan (IEEP) to determine feasibility for employment.
:Connecting to other ServicesWith direction of the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs (Health andBenefits Administration) offices, Abilities Center , in addition tocurrent range of services, is prepared to facilitate veterans’participation in other programs, as indicated but not limited to:Compensated Work Therapy (CWT)REALifelinesTransitional Assistance ProgramComplementary services through county Veterans’ offices
:Referral to Evaluation INITIATE CONTACT • Coordinate with VA ancillary providers• Assign Abilities • SNJVeterans@Home • Meet at Center or Center/SNJ contacts veteran other location Veterans@Home • Ensure transport in • Evaluation (L or S) Specialist place or mobile contact to veteran’s location PROVIDES REFERRAL FROM SERVICES PHILADELPHIA VA
:Evaluation to Job Placement TRAINING • Regional• Short-term Employment• Long-term• On site or mobile. • Transitional. • Coordinated With Mobile Team Center-based Philadelphia VA Travels • Community • Follow-up As Throughout the Partners Indicated Region • Behavioral Health JOB PLACEMENT Partners As Needed & FOLLOW-UP EVALUATION