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Veterans Advantage News

Benefits News

Paralyzed Veterans of America's First Vocational Rehabilitation Center for Veterans with Spinal Cord Injury Exceeds Expectations

Paralyzed Veterans of America’s (PVA) first Vocational Employment Counseling Center for Veterans with spinal cord injuries (SCI), which opened in July 2007 in partnership with Health Net Federal Services, LLC, the government operations division of Health Net, Inc. (NYSE:HNT - News), reports groundbreaking success.

The center was opened to reduce the unemployment rates of Veterans with SCI by bridging the gap between this unique veteran population and the resources that can help them to unleash their potential and pursue opportunities for substantive, gainful employment. The center currently provides rehabilitative and vocational rehabilitation services to 74 Veterans with SCI, seven of whom are now gainfully employed as a result of the center’s employment placement assistance.

“Health Net Federal Services is extremely pleased with the remarkable success of PVA’s specialized rehabilitative counseling services for Veterans with these injuries,” said Steve Tough, president, Health Net Federal Services. “We look forward to our continued partnership with PVA to extend this unique program and continue to promote an equitable quality of life for many more Veterans with SCI.”

“It is important for the SCI veteran to be able to return to a normal life, and a very important part of that is employment and the self-worth and personal satisfaction that come with it. The ongoing successes that we are seeing with this program and the fact that we have almost 10 percent employed in less than six months is cause for celebration,” said Randy L. Pleva, Sr., president, Paralyzed Veterans of America. “PVA looks for continued growth of this critical program and is grateful to Health Net for paving the way.”

The success of the center is due to the design of the program, which allows vocational rehabilitation counselor, Rick Schiessler, the opportunity to meet with Veterans early and often during their medical rehabilitation. Schiessler is onsite at Hunter Holmes McGuire Veteran Affairs Medical Center’s Spinal Cord Injury Center, allowing him to develop a rapport with Veterans and their family members. This face-to-face contact is important in successfully providing mental, emotional and psychological support during the rehabilitative process.

Developing interactive partnerships with local and worldwide employers interested in hiring Veterans with SCI is critical to the center’s success. To date, Schiessler has successfully reached out and marketed to hundreds of employers who are interested in hiring Veterans with SCI.

As a result of program growth and success, PVA will look at expanding this specialized program to other locations. For more information, call the PVA Veterans Benefits Department at 1-800-424-8200.

SOURCE: Health Net Federal Services, LLC

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