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Opportunities for vets with disabilities.

The recent opening of a Paralyzed Veterans of America Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling Center in the Minneapolis--St. Paul area provides hope and opportunities for paralyzed veterans who seek to live fulfilling lives.

Last summer, the first PVA Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling Center debuted, in Richmond. It has already proven it can successfully equip its clients with the tools and resources to pursue and obtain satisfying job opportunities. A number of Richmond-area veterans have graduated from the center and have filled jobs for which they were specifically groomed.

"Paralyzed Veterans works 24/7 to ensure our veterans with disabilities have access to everything they need to thrive--and a good job is an essential part of being able to thrive," said Paralyzed Veterans National President Randy L. Pleva Sr. "Thank you, TriWest and VA, for your partnership in this very exciting project to help empower our paralyzed veterans."

The idea for these centers resulted from a simple yet hard reality: Approximately eight of every ten PVA members of employment age are involuntarily unemployed. Many of these individuals want to work, but they haven't been able to find the bridge to reach that goal.

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The infrastructure for that bridge was provided by three organizations--PVA, TriWest Healthcare Alliance, and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Even though PVA took the lead role on this project, the Minneapolis-St. Paul center would not have been possible without collaborating with our two partners.

Speakers at the recent opening of the new Twin Cities-based center included U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs James B. Peake, Minnesota First Lady Mary Pawlenty, TriWest Healthcare Alliance President and CEO David J. McIntyre Jr., and Paralyzed Veterans of America Deputy Executive Director Maurice L. Jordan.

"Working with the Paralyzed Veterans of America, this center is yet another partnership that recognizes the importance of our veterans," Secretary Peake said. "Providing timely benefits and access to resources to veterans sets the stage for their future success."

This groundbreaking public-private partnership provides a foundation so paralyzed veterans will have use of the resources, tools, and skills they need to enter the job market as competitive players. These employment-bound vets will be matched with interested businesses and organizations with employment opportunities. The center will have a dedicated counselor who will ensure each job seeker receives the appropriate intensive case management to completely meet career aspirations.

"Our veterans have given so much of their lives to protect our freedoms," said McIntyre. "We at Tri-West actively recruit and hire veterans, who are hardworking and dedicated employees. I challenge other major corporations to return the favor and hire veterans, especially those who have participated in the Vocational Rehabilitation Center."

Contributor: David Uchic.

Contact: Geoff Hopkins, Paralyzed Veterans of America, 800-424-8200, ext. 736.

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Title Annotation:on the job
Author:Uchic, David
Publication:PN - Paraplegia News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2008
Words:453
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