October is particularly meaningful for VA’s Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) Service: it’s a time to bring extra attention to National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) and Spina Bifida Awareness Month.
NDEAM celebrates the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities while identifying challenges that many continue to face. The theme of the 75th observance of NDEAM is Increasing Access and Opportunity, and is led by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP).
VR&E Service is joining in supporting this year’s theme through its commitment to helping eligible service members and Veterans with service-connected disabilities obtain suitable employment and, to the maximum extent possible, achieve independence in daily living.
VR&E Service offers five program tracks to help Veterans discover a career path, learn about exciting job opportunities, and succeed in their chosen profession. The five program tracks are:
- Reemployment: to successfully return to a civilian job held before deployment.
- Rapid Access to Employment: to quickly secure employment with existing skills and experience.
- Self-Employment: to plan for and start a business.
- Employment through Long-Term Services: to obtain training and/or education, college or certification programs, on-the-job training, non-paid work experience, apprenticeships, and/or internships.
- Independent Living: to be as self-sufficient as possible – if not able to return to work right away.
In addition to NDEAM, October is Spina Bifida Awareness Month, and World Spina Bifida Day is observed on Oct. 25. The goal is to raise awareness of and support for Americans living with spina bifida and the community caring for them.
VR&E Service also helps eligible dependent children with spina bifida through VA’s Benefits for Certain Children with Disabilities Born of Vietnam and Certain Korea Service Veterans (Chapter 18) program. The Chapter 18 program provides services to enable eligible individuals achieve a vocational goal and gain skills needed for entry into a suitable occupation.
On behalf of VR&E Service and all of VA, happy National Disability Employment Awareness Month and Spina Bifida Awareness Month.
Samantha Owens is a management analyst for VBA’s VR&E Service.