VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System recognizes Compensated Work Therapy Rehabilitation Week, honoring VA CWT vocational rehabilitation counselors, managers and peer support specialists who provide services to more than 100 local Veterans each year.
VASNHS’ CWT services are integrated with clinical care to assist veterans with mental health or physical health challenges, including serious mental illness, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, polytrauma and traumatic brain injury, substance use disorder, homelessness, and other psychological issues that may interfere with them securing gainful employment.
“The Compensated Work Therapy program has been a great way for veterans to find work, whether it is here at the VA, another government service, or a community employer,” said James Edmonds, VASNHS Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. “We’ve had a lot of success with helping veterans find a job and get their feet back on the ground.”
VASNHS vocational rehabilitation provides service to more than 100 veterans each year. Many of those Veterans receive employment through government or private hiring programs upon completion of the program. “Supporting Veterans’ efforts to gain meaningful work benefits veterans, our communities,” said Edmonds.
For one veteran, vocational rehabilitation services helped him to turn his life around.
Bill Evans moved to Las Vegas from Greenville, S.C., in February after a divorce from his wife of 30 years. “I needed a new start,” Evans said. “But then the pandemic hit, and I was out on the streets.”
The 65-year old Navy veteran found a homeless shelter with the Salvation Army, and within weeks, a VASNHS mental health counselor referred him to the community integration program and the vocational rehabilitation service. He soon got an apartment and began work as a housekeeper at the North Las Vegas Medical Center. “I’ve never gone without a job, and I’m happy to be working again,” said Evans.
Evans is one of several current participants of the VANSHS vocational rehabilitation program who has been asked to apply for permanent employment. “Bill (Evans) has been a hard worker since day one. He’s done a great job in housekeeping.”
VASNHS’ CWT services are integral to helping veterans overcome employment barriers and return to meaningful employment.