America’s Heroes at Work – Supporting employment Success of Returning Service Members with TBI & PTSD

January 26, 2009 at 6:37 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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Americas Heroes at Work

America's Heroes at Work

“Supporting the Employment Success of Veterans with TBI and PTSD

DOL Launches Employer Educational Initiative – America’s Heroes at Work

 

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently unveiled America’s Heroes at Work, a unique program designed to help employers support veterans who are coping with two increasingly common battlefield injuries – Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Launched in August 2008, the initiative equips businesses and the workforce development system with the tools they need to help those affected by TBI and/or PTSD succeed in the workplace—particularly service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

 

By many accounts, hundreds of thousands of brave men and women are expected to be coping with TBI and PTSD as they reenter civilian life.  And although their injuries may not be visible, veterans experiencing combat stress or a brain injury may face difficulties, especially with respect to employment.  They may suffer from headaches, vertigo, balance problems, anxiety and sleep disturbance, among other symptoms.  They also may have cognitive symptoms including short-term memory deficits, poor concentration and decision-making difficulties.  All of these can interfere with everyday activities, inside and outside of the workplace.

 

However, DOL wants employers to know that often simple workplace supports can help individuals with TBI and/or PTSD succeed in their jobs, and that employment can play a major role in their recovery.  It has launched a comprehensive Web site — www.AmericasHeroesAtWork.gov – that offers support and education concerning ways to assist returning service members with TBI and PTSD in their transition and beyond into the work place.  Specifically, it educates employers, human resources professionals, the workforce development system, and vocational rehabilitation professionals on accommodations they can make for employees living with a brain injury or combat stress.  It also provides a toll-free phone number that employers can call for personalized assistance related to accommodations for veterans with disabilities (800-526-7234).

 

Examples of accommodations for people with TBI or PTSD include lighting adjustments to prevent headaches, tape recorders to help with memory, or a quiet workspace to support concentration.  Other promising practices include job sharing, job coaching, flexible schedules and workplace mentoring.

 

The America’s Heroes at Work Web site educates employers on these supports and offers additional resources such as easy-to-understand fact sheets, reference guides, training tools, and helpful links.  It also highlights some real-life success stories of veteran employees with TBI or PTSD and the satisfied employers who hired them. 

 

AmericasHeroesAtWork.gov is merely the centerpiece of a targeted, ongoing DOL outreach campaign that will help increase awareness of TBI and PTSD issues among the workforce system, and educate employers on how to help those with TBI and/or PTSD succeed—whether their employees are veterans, first-responders or any one of the millions of Americans experiencing a mental illness or the effects of a head injury.  

 

Additionally, America’s Heroes at Work aims to dispel some of the myths related to people with TBI and PTSD by stressing the facts—that 80% of TBIs are mild concussions that will heal fully, and that PTSD is nothing an employer should fear.  After all, veteran employees, including those with disabilities, make exceptional employees who will bring bottom-line benefits to one’s business.

 

America’s Heroes at Work is managed by DOL’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) in collaboration with other federal agencies engaged in TBI and PTSD programs, including the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services and Education, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration and others.  Educational materials on the Web site were produced collaboratively with the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and TBI; the Defense and Veterans’ Brain Injury Center; the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; and the Job Accommodation Network.

 

For more information, visit www.AmericasHeroesAtWork.gov.  “

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3 Comments »

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  1. Such important work. We can all support those that deserve it most by helping organizations like Wounded Warrior Project when we search the web. Use yahoo search and Wounded Warrior Project can earn money for its great work. Just go to http://www.freelanthropy.com, select Wounded Warrior Project and then do your searches from that site or get the WWP toolbar. WWP earns money with each search. It is free and so simple to do.

  2. Such an important program because it supports the most healing aspect of treating PTSD: constructing a post-trauma identity.

    Employment, feeling productive and useful, and developing a life outside of, after and beyond traumatic experience are all critical in the healing process.

    As a trauma surivivor and recovered PTSD experiencer I write a healing PTSD blog. Several vets are responding to it. Let me know if I can help your vets in any way!

  3. This is awesome! Having this resource for vets with TBI is just amazing. And its focus on work is tremendous. As a long-term multiple tbi survivor, I have to say my ability to work and integrate in the workplace has been a lifesaver. I’ve hit a lot of bumps along the way, in many cases due to my TBIs — it’s a real issue at times. Having this resource for folks is wonderful. Good work!


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