Wounded Warrior Careers demonstration Program by yangxichun


									              Wounded Warrior Careers
              demonstration Program
              New hope for wounded warriors:
              An innovative approach to helping
              today’s veteran succeed…

SpriNg 2011
                                             Wounded Warrior Careers
                                             Program supporters
                                             Anonymous – San Francisco
                                             Susan Vail Berresford
                                             The Bob Woodruff Foundation
                                             Aspen Community Foundation
                                             The Cannon Foundation
                                             Carl B. & Florence E. King Foundation
                                             Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
nod: a Catalyst for                          Chrysler Foundation
for disability employment                    Cumberland Community Foundation
The National Organization on Disability      The Dallas Foundation
is one of the oldest cross-disability        Dartmouth College Alan reich Legacy Fund
organizations in the country. A key player
in bringing about reforms in disability      The Duke Endowment
policy and practice, NOD now focuses on      El pomar Foundation
increasing opportunities for the seventy-
nine percent of working-age Americans        The Ford Foundation
with disabilities who are not employed.      Kessler Foundation
                                             W.K. Kellogg Foundation
NOD develops and evaluates pioneering
programs that can be scaled for higher       Lockheed Martin
impact, and conducts research aimed at       McCormick Foundation
understanding the employment gap for
people with disabilities.                    The Meadows Foundation
                                             MetLife Foundation
                                             robert Wood Johnson Foundation
                                             rose Community Foundation
                                             Joyce and Donald rumsfeld Foundation
                                             The Starr Foundation
                                             UpS Foundation
                                             Z. Smith reynolds Foundation
                                           S      iNCE 2001, more than 40,000 wounded

                                                                                               Wounded Warrior Careers program
                                                  military personnel have returned from
                                                  iraq or Afghanistan, approximately
                                           one-third of them with life-altering injuries.
                                           These disabilities often demand a long and
                                           difficult period of recovery and adjustment
                                           — but they need not be a barrier to civilian
                                           employment, income, and independence.

                                           Too often, seriously wounded service mem-
                                           bers lack the training and resources to adapt
                                           their military experience and new disabilities
                                           to successful civilian careers. The waste of
                                           their talents and abilities, and its impact on
                                           thousands of military families, is a completely
                                           preventable national tragedy.

                                           in 2007, the US Army asked the National
                                           Organization on Disability (NOD) to design a
                                           solution. The result of this collaboration is the
                                           Wounded Warrior Careers Demonstration, in
                                           which hundreds of the most severely injured
                                           veterans and their families have begun plan-
                                           ning and preparing for careers, enrolling in
                                           school or training programs, taking jobs, and
                                           moving ahead.

                                           in three years, the Army and NOD have
“The National Organization                 built a scalable model and helped hundreds
on Disability’s Wounded                    of veterans and their families successfully
Warrior Careers program has                reintegrate.
helped me to support myself
and allowed me to open doors
that, due to my injures, once
seemed closed.”
Scott Vycital, US Army Specialist (Ret.)
                                                            rESULTS                   NOD’s model is built on          Career Specialists are
National Organization on Disability

                                                                                      research involving hundreds      deployed in Colorado, North
                                                                                      of injured soldiers and their    Carolina, and Texas.
                                                                                      families. The demonstration
                                                                                      program delivers a tightly       Two years into the
                                                                                      integrated web of supports       demonstration, over two-
                                                                                      that is personal, prolonged,     thirds of the more than 250
                                                                                      and proactive.                   participants are employed or
                                                                                                                       actively engaged in education
                                                                                      research showed that             or training. This is twice the
                                                                                      severely wounded warriors        rate of those without NOD’s
                                                                                      need more specialized            support.
                                                                                      career transition assistance
2                                     68% of Wounded
                                                                                      than is provided through
                                                                                      existing programs. in
                                                                                                                       The Department of Defense
                                                                                                                       and the Army have asked
                                      Warrior Careers                                 response, NOD recruited and      NOD to expand the Careers
                                                                                      trained a team of Career         Demonstration to more
                                      participants are employed                       Specialists — workforce          states. The program’s data-
                                      or in education or job                          development experts, many        collection, which is producing
                                      training – twice the rate                       with military backgrounds        longitudinal information on
                                      of wounded warriors                             — to work with wounded           participants’ experience in
                                                                                      veterans and their families.     the program, shows that the
                                      not enrolled in NOD’s                           NOD’s Career Specialists offer   program has not only achieved
                                      program.                                        sustained career counseling,     what it set out to do, but that
                                                                                      mentoring, and support and       a great deal more can be
                                                                                      make effective connections       accomplished.
                                                                                      among the often over-
                                                                                      whelming array of services
                                                                                      available to veterans. The

                                      An NOD Career Specialist testifies before the
                                      Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.
                                                                  Even for veterans without severe disabilities,
                                                                  the challenges of transitioning home from a
                                                                  military career to the civilian workforce can
                                                                  be daunting. Today’s veterans are older and

                                                                                                                    Wounded Warrior Careers program
                                                                  far more likely to have spouses and children.
                                                                  These veterans are transitioning in the middle
                                                                  of their careers. Their abilities and expecta-
                                                                  tions are far above the entry level positions
                                                                  sought by veterans of previous wars. Despite
                                                                  their considerable experience, they are less
                                                                  likely to have held a full-time civilian job,
                                                                  prepared a résumé, or experienced a non-
                                                                  military job interview. Most wounded
                                                                  warriors served repeated tours of duty doing
                                                                  work for which there are few obvious civilian
 Army Staff Sgt. (Ret.) James Williams with his wife, Jennifer.   equivalents. Today’s wounded warriors must

                                                                  learn new skills while adapting to visible and
                                                                  invisible injuries, the impact of which we do                      3
                                                                  not yet completely understand.
 James Williams’ Story
                                                                  Seventy-five percent of Army Wounded
 Following traumatic brain and associated                         Warriors experience post Traumatic Stress
 injuries, James Williams was rated 100%                          Disorder (pTSD) and/or Traumatic Brain
 disabled. He thought he’d never work                             injuries (TBi) — disabilities many employers
 again.                                                           and educators are unfamiliar with. Moreover,
                                                                  returning service members and their families
 Working with NOD Career Specialist,                              often find themselves entangled in a perplex-
 Dwayne Beason, James revealed his                                ing web of benefits and services — which is all
 passion for basketball. A 6’6” center, he                        the more challenging for veterans coping with
 had turned down a college basketball                             physical, cognitive, and emotional recovery.
 scholarship to join the Army. Dwayne got
 James a job coaching youth basketball at
 the local community center. Now enrolled
 in a Bachelor’s program for school
 counselors, James plans to coach in
 public schools as well.

 Along the way, Dwayne also helped
 James’ wife, Jennifer, complete an                               Today’s wounded warriors must learn
 accelerated degree program so she                                new skills while adapting to visible and
 could help support the family while                              invisible injures. NOD Career Specialists,
 James finishes his degree.
                                                                  familiar with the effects of PTSD and
                                                                  TBI, help families, educators and
                                                                  employers understand them and know
                                                                  how to respond.
                                         prOLONgED,                            The Wounded Warrior Careers       skills, and coping techniques
National Organization on Disability

                                       AND prOACTiVE:                          Demonstration program’s           for the inevitable obstacles and
                                                                               success in overcoming these       setbacks.
                                        A MODEL THAT                           challenges makes it an im-
                                              WOrKS                            portant model, with replicable
                                                                               lessons for other workforce
                                                                                                                 spouses, children, parents, and
                                                                                                                 siblings are vital to a veteran’s
                                                                               programs. This model is built     journey. personal service
                                                                               on three pillars: personal en-    means not only individual
                                                                               gagement, prolonged involve-      attention, but a focus on home
                                                                               ment, and proactive support.      and family. indeed, 30 percent
                                                                                                                 of participating veterans’
                                                                               PersonaL: support                 spouses are benefitting from
                                                                                                                 NOD’s career assistance.
4                                     Returning service
                                                                               tailored to individual
                                                                               veterans and their                every veteran’s circumstances
                                      members and their                        families                          are different. Direct, face-
                                                                               Financial management skills       to-face contact between the
                                      families often find                                                        Career Specialist and the fam-
                                                                               are often dangerously lacking
                                      themselves entangled                                                       ily is critical to supporting the
                                                                               as service members move
                                      in a perplexing web of                   from military to civilian         veteran’s career goals. in par-
                                      benefits and services —                  careers — especially when         ticular, the devastating effect
                                                                               that transition is unplanned.     of sudden and severe injury —
                                      which is all the more                                                      often encompassing emotional
                                                                               Delayed benefits, relocation
                                      challenging for veterans                                                   and cognitive injuries — can
                                                                               costs, and significantly re-
                                      coping with physical,                    duced income force many           lead to depression and a loss of
                                      cognitive, and emotional                 veterans’ families into ex-       self-confidence that undermine
                                                                               treme financial need, which       a veteran’s ability to trust an
                                      recovery.                                                                  adviser and envision opportuni-
                                                                               can in turn derail career prog-
                                                                               ress. NOD Career Specialists      ties. NOD’s veteran-centered
                                                                               work closely with veteran         model keeps Career Specialists’
                                                                               families to ensure adequate       caseloads low, enabling them
                                                                               financial planning and            to work intensively with each
                                                                               budgeting.                        veteran over time.

                                                                               Career action Plans with          ProLonged: support
                                                                               clear steps are critical. plans   that lasts through the
                                                                               include not just steps toward
                                                                               a desired career path, but all
                                                                                                                 entire transition
                                                                               supporting elements of            Sustained mentoring and
                                                                               the journey: physical and         intensive support are often
                                                                               mental health, support for        needed for months, even years,
                                                                               the family, independent living    to help veterans succeed
                                      Sergeant Leonard Mason, US Army (Ret.)
through the many stages and

                                                                                                                                     Wounded Warrior Careers program
reversals of reintegration. NOD
stays involved long after an                                                  Captain James Howard,
                                                                              US Army (Ret.)
initial job or education place-
ment, developing alternatives if    NOD Career Specialists often
schools or employment are not       meet with educators or pro-
initially successful.               spective employers ahead
                                    of time, to pave the way for
ProaCtiVe: Preparing                success in school and work.
for next steps, anticipating        NOD maintains these rela-
                                    tionships over time, to help
                                    keep a path open for veterans’
Even experienced counselors
                                    advancement. As a result, 93
find it difficult to navigate the   percent of participants pursu-
complex web of benefits and         ing education have stuck with                NOD’s Career Specialists
services for veterans. For veter-   it and are completing their                  offer veterans and their
ans with long rehabilitation and    coursework. And 75 percent                   families intensive and
training paths ahead, a missed      of employed participants have
opportunity or missing resource     stayed on the job longer than
                                                                                 sustained career
can make the difference be-         12 months.                                   counseling, mentoring
tween success and failure. To be                                                 and support, and work
sure that benefits and services     addressing the unique                        closely with other service
are available when needed,          demands of Ptsd and tBi is
NOD’s Career Specialists work       integral to NOD’s approach.
                                                                                 providers — rather than
closely with other providers,       NOD Career Specialists, who                  simply providing referrals.
rather than simply providing        are familiar with the effects of
referrals.                          pTSD and TBi, help families,
                                    educators, employers, and
emergency funds can bridge          service providers understand
the gaps through which too          them and know how to
many veterans fall. Despite best    respond.
efforts, some public benefits
don’t come through when need-
ed. NOD maintains a reserve
of flexible support funds that
can be critical for avoiding the
short-term crises that derail
veterans and families.

schools and employers often
need help recognizing the
potential of wounded warriors.
                                                      Senator Dan Inouye with Specialist (Ret.) Scott Vycital and his wife, Jarah.
          Warrior                            recognizing that many organizations serve veterans with
          Careers:                           disabilities, the Army and NOD designed a scalable program
                                             that can be replicated by other service providers and generate
        A prOgrAM                            valuable information for the field.
           BUiLT ON                          As part of the Wounded Warrior Careers program analysis, NOD
     EViDENCE AND                            collects data on each participant at every step. Metrics include
                                             type and severity of disability; previous education; job skills;
    DriVEN BY DATA                           marital status; services received; and progress in jobs, education,
                                             and training. These data inform both the wounded warrior’s
                                             personalized reintegration plan and the course of the
                                             demonstration as a whole.
68% of participants are
    employed, in education                   in addition to quantitative tracking, NOD surveys participants
    or work training                         every 18 months to gauge satisfaction in education and
                                             employment and identify trends that inform our career efforts.
93% of veterans pursuing
    education are attending                  NOD’s ongoing research clearly shows that programs designed
    or have completed                        for veterans of previous conflicts are not adequate for the wounds
    coursework                               and demographics of today’s military. it also demonstrates
                                             that even with the most serious injuries, disability is not a barrier
75% of those employed have                   to rewarding careers and successful re-integration into civilian
    stayed in their job longer               society.
    than 12 months
                                             Most of all, the Wounded Warrior Careers Demonstration is
80% of participants who are
                                             showing that standing by service members who have made
    employed are in jobs                     profound sacrifices for our country can be a cost-effective way
    with benefits                            to ensure that the country continues to benefit from the proven
22% are participating in                     talents, abilities, and determination of its injured veterans.
    volunteer programs
30% of spouses are benefiting
    from career assistance

                                             national organization on disability
                                             New York
                                             5 East 86th Street, New York, NY 10028
                                             TEL: 646.505.1191 FAX: 646.505.1184
                                             1625 K Street NW, Suite 850, Washington, DC 20006
                                             TEL: 202.293.5960 FAX: 202.506.1968 TDD: 202.293.5968

  Specialist Danelea Kelly, US Army (Ret.)
                                                                                                     Photo credits:
                                                                                                     and Kevin Allen Photography.

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