PAVE Paves the Way for Paralyzed Veterans Seeking Employment
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As of August 2019, 4.7 million veterans (25% of the veteran population) had a service-connected disability (Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 2020). This population faces the same (if not more) barriers to employment as their peers without disabilities. For example, veterans with a service-connected disability had an unemployment rate of 4.8% in August 2019, as compared to 3.7% for veterans with no disability (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Now, with the current unemployment rate for veterans at 8.8% as a result of the pandemic, one can only imagine what these figures look like today (Department of Labor, June 2020).
Veterans face numerous barriers to employment, including the employers’ worry about a veteran adapting to a workplace culture, or the employers’ inability to recognize how military skills translate into the civilian workforce. For veterans with a disability, those barriers are often exacerbated. In fact, a survey of veterans with disabilities found that 57% feared they would be discriminated against in hiring because of their disabilities (Beyond Goodwill: Are Employers Prepared to Hire, Accommodate and Retain Returning Veterans with Disabilities). Now, imagine seeking employment as a paralyzed veteran. With many industries no longer a viable option, opportunities further decrease, often leaving paralyzed veterans feeling hopeless.
This is where the Paralyzed Veterans of America’s employment program, Paving Access for Veterans Employment (PAVE), comes in. PAVE has helped more than 4,100 veterans, military spouses, and caregivers find meaningful work by providing free employment support and vocational counseling assistance. As their website states, “Leveraging a high-touch approach, our employment analysts and vocational rehabilitation counselors will work with you on your path toward meaningful employment. Our team also has expertise in helping veterans overcome barriers to employment at all stages.”
In February, PAVE started PAVE Connect, a new virtual career resource to reach Veterans and their families 24/7, from any device. As stated by the Department of Veterans Affairs VA Blog, “PAVE Connect also offers small group sessions and virtual engagements with the latest career information and opportunities. These presentations also focus on question and answer sessions as well as group discussions. PAVE Connect sessions are hosted by PAVE staff and employment experts to cover topics such as: resume building, interview skills, LinkedIn profile tactics, crafting job search strategies, and identifying network opportunities in the desired community” (Virtual Employment Services for Veterans, Caregivers and Military Spouses from PVA, May 2020).
Best of all? Paralyzed Veterans of America is offering this resource to ALL veterans, transitioning service members, spouses, and caregivers.
Paralyzed veterans have made a tremendous sacrifice for this nation and its people. It’s our responsibility to provide them with the resources, tools, and support they need to live full and meaningful lives after service. PAVE is doing its part in doing just that.
To learn more about PAVE, visit https://pva.org/find-support/veterans-employment/.