The transition to civilian life can be difficult for many Veterans. It’s even more challenging for those with PTSD. More than 60% of Veterans entering specialized PTSD programs are unemployed, which can negatively impact financial security, community reintegration and quality of life.
But thanks to an innovative “pay-for-success” program, 100 Veterans with PTSD have now found meaningful employment in New York City, Boston and Central Western Massachusetts. The renewed status and sense of identity that comes with being employed and making meaningful contributions at home and in society can reduce the stigma of disability–and lower symptoms of PTSD.
The program, called Veterans Coordinated Approach to Recovery and Employment (CARE), provides individual placement and support services for service members and Veterans with PTSD.
Once a Veteran is accepted into the program, an employment specialist works with them to find competitive employment that aligns with their skills, abilities and preferences. The employment specialist also provides follow-up support services through an integrated treatment team to help the Veteran sustain employment.
This approach, called Individual Placement and Support, has been rigorously evaluated in more than 25 randomized control trials and has consistently shown better results than standard vocational rehabilitation approaches.
Veterans CARE is the first ever VA “pay for success” project and works by leveraging private capital to scale evidence-based supported employment services.
The model enables federal, state, and local governments to partner with high-quality service providers by tapping into private investments to expand effective programs.
The program was launched in 2018 between VA, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the City of Boston, New York City partners and Social Finance, a national nonprofit organization and leader in the “pay for success” funding model.
Dr. Lori Davis, at the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center, is overseeing and monitoring the program. “The Veterans CARE project will take our work from the research arena into real-world settings where we plan to achieve the highest level of impact of IPS at full scale,” said Dr. Davis. “Sustained meaningful work is a key part of the recovery plan for Veterans living with PTSD.”
For more information about the Veterans CARE project, visit http://socialfinance.org/focus-areas/workforce/veterans-care-project/.