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News Highlight
Jul 18, 2013

Veterans Affairs Employment Coordinators: The Link between Vets and Employers

This is an image of a handshake between a servicemember and a businesswoman.
As troops shift out of active duty military service and into the private sector, Benefits.gov and our Partner Agency, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), are here to provide resources and information about benefit programs that can help in this transition. The VA's Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program helps Veterans with compensable service-connected disabilities to prepare for, find, and keep suitable employment. Services may include employment assistance, short and long-term training, purchase of required supplies, and on-the-job training.

The VR&E program has Employment Coordinators (ECs) who can assist Veterans and Service members with finding and maintaining employment. There are over 80 Employment Coordinators located at VA's 56 nation-wide Regional Offices and the National Capital Region Benefits Office. Many of these ECs reach out to Veterans, as well as businesses and other organizations, to ensure they are aware of employment services available to them. The ECs provide a wide array of employment assistance through the VR&E program, including:

  • Labor market information
  • On-site visits to employers to obtain more information on job openings and leads
  • Employer education
  • Resume development
  • Interview skills training
  • Job Resource Labs
  • Job coaching
  • Follow-up with Veterans and employers to determine any needs/accommodations
  • Ensuring VetSuccess.gov is up-to-date with employment opportunities

Several specific programs offered through VR&E that ECs are able to help coordinate include:

VR&E On-the-Job & Apprenticeship Training Program (OJT)
For Veterans exiting the military and are interested in being trained to learn a new job skill such as plumbing, hotel management or firefighting, the On the Job Training Program is available. This program assists veterans and their dependents by allowing them to learn a trade or skill through participation in apprenticeship or on-the-job training rather than by attending classes. One generally enters into a training contract for a specific period of time with an employer or union and at the end of the training period has gained job certification or journeyman status. An employer is able to hire a Veteran at an apprentice wage while VA supplements the salary up to the journeyman wage - as the Veteran progresses through training, the employer pays a progressively larger portion of their salary. The employer may also be eligible for a federal tax credit for hiring an individual who participated in a vocational rehabilitation program.

VR&E Private Sector Special Employer Incentive Program (SEI)
For Veterans with service-connected disabilities, ECs can assist coordinating the Private Sector Special Employer Incentive Program. This program is for Veterans facing extraordinary obstacles to gain employment. Through this program, a Veteran is placed in an OJT or other work experience with an employer and employment is expected to continue following successful completion of the SEI program. VR&E can reimburse the employer up to 50 percent of the Veteran's salary for up to six months and the employer may also be eligible for a federal tax credit for hiring an individual who participated in a vocational rehabilitation program.

VR&E Non-Paid Work Experience Program (NPWE)
For Veterans with service-connected disabilities who have a clearly established career goal and who learn easily in a hands-on environment, or who are having difficulties obtaining employment due to lack of work experience, the Non-Paid Work Experience Program may be ideal. This program assists in the placement of eligible Veterans and Servicemembers in local, state, or Federal government office positions. The placement does not count against the agencyapril-2013s Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) openings and VR&E pays the Veteran's monthly subsistence allowance while they are participating in the program, and working toward gaining and/or strengthening particular skill sets. Though the office is under no obligation to hire the Veteran, the goal of this program is for the Veteran to obtain full-time, permanent employment in the office, or a similar office, where he/she is placed.

Employers interested in hiring Veterans can contact their local Employment Coordinator by calling 1-800-827-1000 and asking to speak to the VR&E Officer, or by contacting the VR&E office through VA's VetSuccess.gov site. For more information on all of the VR&E programs, visit the program website.

Benefits.gov and VA are working hard to ensure that Veterans can identify and apply for benefits programs that are right for them. To view the full list of 77 military-related benefits on Benefits.gov, visit the "Browse by Category" page and select "Military: Active Duty and Veterans". To find out if you might be eligible for these, or any of the more than 1,000 other benefits on our site, click "Start Now" on the homepage to use our confidential Benefit Finder.