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Supported Education and Supported Employment

Seeking to promote the successful re-integration of veterans from Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom, the VA has recognized the import of obtaining employment and/or achieving educational goals. Data collected through qualitative methods will results in a treatment manual for delivering supported education to OIF/OEF veterans with PTSD and implementation guidelines for this service for the VA. This work is being integrated with the recently awarded Department of Psychiatry Research and Training Center on employment and education for youth and young adults with serious mental health conditions (the Transitions RTC). Marsha Ellison and her team of UMass/VA researchers, including the Bedford Chief of Psychology Service (Drebing) and MIRREC psychologist (Mueller) have offered veterans with disabilities the opportunity to describe the challenges and successes of pursuing higher education following separation from the military. Using qualitative methods, including community-based participatory action research the team is now creating a manual for delivering a supported education service and implementation guidelines for the VA. A pilot program to test the feasibility and effect size of this intervention is also funded with potential for future national roll- out. Thereby, UMass is an integral player in the development of a broad intervention program to support the education goals of veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other disabilities.