The Institute has engaged in an initiative focusing on the employment of veterans with disabilities (specifically individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI), post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depression) returning from Iraq and Afghanistan (OEF/OIF). Although the public and specifically employers want to support veterans returning home, many seem to be unsure with how best to render meaningful assistance.
The Institute recognized that what was glaringly unavailable was hard data on what the veterans’ desires were as far as civilian employment upon retirement from military service. Our completed research is from interviewing veterans with disabilities, family members, caregivers and employers.
A number of powerful insights were gained from the interviews:
- Veterans see themselves as wounded or injured soldiers – not as disabled
- Veterans have other service related disabilities (e.g., hearing loss) in addition to TBI and/or PTSD
- Veterans want to return home - home life and their living situation takes priority over employment
- Veterans need ready access to career counseling, mental health services, and alcohol and drug abuse counseling, as well as family supports
- Veterans need options to work at home, in special work settings, and/or with flexible work arrangements due to the impact of TBI and/or PTSD or major Depression
- Veterans rely on spouses and other family members as their primary caregivers with many of them also requiring similar work flexibility where job sharing could be a viable solution
Findings about veterans’ career patterns showed the following preferences:
Military Experience Based
Transportation Security Automotive Repair
Administration Information Technology
Work Environment Focused
Park Ranger/Wildlife Service
Contract Work (Military installation)
Public Service Oriented
With this information in mind, the Institute is now pursuing prospective employment opportunities for OEF and OIF veterans with disabilities. The Institute is also seeking to obtain presumptive eligibility for these veterans to increase their participation in the AbilityOne Program. The Institute wants the AbilityOne Program to be viewed as a viable and easily accessible employment option.
LINK TO FULL VETERANS RESEARCH
SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCES
We would appreciate hearing from those CRPs and commercial employers that have had success with their hiring and service provision to veterans. Along with our research findings and your direct experiences, we will have a wealth of information. Please share with us what is working in your organization and we will post that information on our website.
WHAT WE CAN DO FOR YOU: Institute staff can provide a variety of assistance, such as outreach and recruitment, best practices, and other veterans’ resource information. Please contact: Denise Perka, Research Manager, at 571-226-4669 or
for more information.