VA program helps veterans start new career

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Getting struggling veterans back on their feet, that’s the goal of a unique program a the Ralph H. Johnson VA Hospital. The first step is to help veterans find jobs, and then keep them. Thomas Gilliard says, “I had issues in my life that I’m not too proud of.”

Samuel Toomer says, “I kind of hit rock bottom.” Both Thomas Gilliard and Samuel Toomer served in the Army, but then they left, battled substance abuse. Now, they are back on their feet.

Toomer says, “This gave me an opportunity to learn the skills, and I like it.”

The work for the VA through the Compensated Work Therapy Program, which helps vets translate the skills they learn in the military to civilian jobs.

Joan Dunn, Supervisor of Vocation Rehab, says, “Sometimes it’s just not knowing how to go out into the community and look for work. They’ve always been in the military and always know where the next step is. Sometimes it’s a big leap to go from a different world of the military to the civilian life.”

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