Image of a military man and a woman holding handEmployers value military experience! While many veterans who want to work receive VA Service Connected Disability and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), many of them can also take advantage of services provided by the Ticket to Work (Ticket) program. Learn more about employment supports and important tools to help veterans transition to the civilian workforce.

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Helping Veterans on the Path to Work

Nov 19, 2019

By Sheriene Knox, Operation Job Ready Veterans

Image of a military man and a woman holding handThis November, as we observe National Veterans and Military Families Month, it's important for all of us to thank those who have served and remember those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Many veterans who want to work receive VA Service Connected Disability and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), but many of them don't take advantage of services that the Ticket to Work (Ticket) program can provide them on that path.

What is Ticket to Work?

The Ticket program supports career development for people ages 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits (SSI/SSDI) and want to work. The program is free and voluntary. It helps people with disabilities prepare for work, find a job, and be successful in the workplace. Ticket program participants can receive career counseling, vocational rehabilitation, and job placement and training from authorized service providers such as Employment Networks (EN) or their State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency.

Important Tools to Help with Transition

Working with veterans is highly rewarding; however, translating military skills to civilian positions in a resume or job interview can be challenging. "Military speak" can seem like a foreign language to a civilian employer or service provider. The good news is that there is now a tool, called a Military Skills Translator. 

This tool asks the user to identify three things: Service Type, Pay Grade and Military Job Title. All of this information can be found on the veteran's DD 214 along with dates of service. If you do not have this form, you may be able to access your personnel information here. The translator then not only provides "Civilian Skills" but also "Equivalent Civilian Openings" with a variety of job titles and locations.

Another tool is Military Transition Classes. I encourage every veteran to attend a transitional class or course. Local Veterans Administration offices and other service organizations have information about where these classes are being held and what they involve. For veterans who want to enter or re-enter the civilian workforce, these classes can help in discovering vocational interests through self-assessments and developing supportive relationships with other veterans also seeking employment. 

In many ways, veterans who are ready to work are ahead of their competition. Employers value their military training and experience and recognize that because of their service, they have in-demand skills, including strong leadership and organizational skills, flexibility and time management.

Veterans seeking employment and employers or federal contractors looking to hire veterans now have more resources than ever at their disposal. The Ticket program has collected many of these resources on its Resources for Veterans page. The transition to employment can be challenging but it can also be very rewarding. Connecting with a Ticket program service provider, such as an Employment Network (EN), can be an important step toward putting these skills to work. For more information about Ticket to Work or finding a service provider, contact the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Ask a representative to send you a list of service providers, or find providers on your own with the Ticket to Work Find Help tool.

Veterans seeking employment and employers or federal contractors looking to hire veterans now have more resources than ever at their disposal. The Ticket program has collected many of these resources on its Resources for Veterans page. The transition to employment can be challenging but it can also be very rewarding. Connecting with a Ticket program service provider, such as an Employment Network (EN), can be an important step toward putting these skills to work. For more information about Ticket to Work or finding a service provider, contact the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Ask a representative to send you a list of service providers, or find providers on your own with the Ticket to Work Find Help tool.

About the Writer

Sheriene Knox is a Ticket to Work manager at Operation: Job Ready Veterans, a Ticket to Work Employment Network. She has over 25 years of experience assisting people with disabilities, including physical, developmental and mental health disabilities, to find and maintain employment in jobs that are right for them. Through the Ticket program, Sheriene provides career counseling, post-employment support, job advocacy, and re-employment assistance.

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