Transitioning back into civilian life after active duty as a veteran is rarely an easy feat, especially for those who suffer from PTSD. More than half of veterans in the United States who enter PTSD once returning to civilian lie are unemployed, and this has a tendency to negatively impact their financial security, quality of life, and reintegration into the community. Luckily, there are programs that aim to help veterans with PTSD have an easier time readjusting to civilian life while finding employment that means something to them. Being employed brings a new sense of identity to veterans by being able to make meaningful contributions both at home and to their community, and helps reduce the stigma of disability while also lowering symptoms of PTSD.
One program that’s done a great job in assisting veterans with PTSD find employment is the CARE project, otherwise known as Veterans Coordinated Approach to Recovery and Employment, with the main goal being providing individual placement and support services for service members and Veterans suffering from PTSD. The program works like this: Veterans are accepted into the program and are then paired with an employment specialist. The specialist works with them to find competitive employment that aligns with their skills and preferences, following by the specialist providing follow-up support services through a treatment team to help the veteran in question sustain their employment. This approach is called “Individual Placement and Support”. The approach has been evaluated in more than 25 randomized control trials has a track record of showing better results than standard vocational rehabilitation approaches.
The Veterans CARE project is known as a “pay for success” project and is the first project of it’s kind for the VA. The project works by leveraging private capital to scale evidence-based supported employment services. It allows governments on the federal, state and local levels to partner with top tier service providers by utilizing private investments which help them expand effective programs such as Veterans CARE. CARE was launched in 2018 and is being overseen by Dr. Lori Davis of the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center. The program is a joint effort between the VA, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the City of Boston, New York City partners and Social Finance, which is a national nonprofit organization and a pioneer in the “pay for success” model.