Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center
New Paralyzed Veterans Career Office Ribbon Cutting
With the national unemployment rate for veterans with severe disabilities at 85 percent, a unique Augusta program aims to make a difference, helping those who wore the uniform and have been seriously injured secure good jobs and careers in a tough economy.
Officially opening on November 18, the Augusta Paralyzed Veterans of America Vocational Rehabilitation Office will empower veterans with disabilities by providing the services they need to reintegrate into the job market—while matching them with businesses and organizations with career positions. The office, part of an emerging national network built by Paralyzed Veterans, is based at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center. It is being established through an innovative public-private partnership between Paralyzed Veterans of America, Agility Defense & Government Services and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
“Hiring more veterans with disabilities is a win-win for our country. Those who served secure good careers; employers get great employees; and, in turn, our economy becomes stronger,” said Bill Lawson, national president of Paralyzed Veterans of America, who officially opened the new office. “It’s a strategy that helps empower America’s best with everything they need to live full, self-sufficient and productive lives. It’s a strategy that’s good for business and great for our nation.”
Lawson was joined by Rich Brooks, vice president, Logistic Operations, Agility Defense & Government Services, for the launch of this important initiative. “We challenge other companies to step forward to hire wounded veterans and help fund the expansion of Paralyzed Veterans’ Voc-Rehab program to other VA facilities around the country,” Brooks urged.
Other speakers included VA officials, local business leaders, paralyzed veterans who have secured good jobs through the program’s existing five offices around the nation and veterans with disabilities from the Georgia area who have enrolled in the Augusta program.
With vocational rehabilitation offices in Richmond, VA; Minneapolis, MN; San Antonio, TX; Long Beach, CA; Boston, MA; and now Augusta, Paralyzed Veterans and its partners have helped hundreds of veterans with their career goals and have developed working relationships with more than 300 employers. Of those helped, 120 have already begun new careers with a wide range of employers. More than sixty program clients are veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Paralyzed Veterans of America was founded by a band of spinal cord injured service members who returned home from World War II to a grateful nation, but also to a world with few solutions to the challenges they faced. They made a decision not just to live, but to live with dignity as contributors to society. They created Paralyzed Veterans, dedicated to veterans service, medical research and civil rights for people with disabilities. And for more than 64 years, Paralyzed Veterans and our 34 chapters have been working to create an America where all veterans and people with disabilities, and their families, have everything they need to thrive. We represent thousands of veterans in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. (http://www.pva.org)