VA is working with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide education and support to disabled Veterans interested in self-employment.
VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) entered into an agreement with the SBA Office of Veterans Business Development in early December to provide self-employment guidance, assistance and on-the-job training to disabled Veterans.
“Our partnership with the Small Business Administration brings together the best of public and private business resources to help disabled Veterans start their business on a firm footing,” said VA’s Acting Secretary Robert Wilkie. “This program is available to Veterans who want to transition to self-employment and want the guidance and mentorship provided by SBA partners to increase their success.”
To qualify for the program, Veterans must meet three conditions: a service-connected disability, an employment handicap and acceptance into the VR&E program.
SBA partners include Service Corps of Retired Executives, Small Business Development Centers, Veterans Business Outreach Centers, Women’s Business Centers and U.S. Export Assistance Centers.
The VA-SBA memorandum of agreement formalizes a working relationship that has been in place for many years. Hundreds of disabled Veterans have worked with SBA partners to establish and build their businesses.
In some cases, training opportunities are available for Veterans to work with existing businesses and gain valuable business skills through the Non-Paid Work Experience program. This program is similar to an internship, and participants receive a monthly VR&E housing allowance.
VR&E assists Veterans with service-connected disabilities to find and maintain suitable employment in meaningful careers. For Veterans with service-connected disabilities that are so severe that they cannot immediately consider work, VR&E provides services to improve their ability to live as independently as possible.
VR&E employs nearly 1,000 professional vocational rehabilitation counselors and delivers services through a network of nearly 350 office locations. For more information on the VR&E programs go to https://www.benefits.va.gov/vocrehab/