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Organization helping boost jobs in Boston

Posted on May 21, 2011

The Boston Paralyzed Veterans of America Vocational Rehabilitation Office announced this week it is making a big push to help paralyzed veterans find jobs in Boston.

With the national unemployment rate for veterans with severe disabilities at 85 percent, a unique Boston program aims to drastically cut unemployment for veterans with disabilities—helping those who wore the uniform and were seriously injured secure good jobs and careers.

Officially opening today, May 18, the Boston 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 new office, part of an emerging network, is based at VA Boston Healthcare System, Room AG 60, West Roxbury Division, 1400 VFW Parkway, West Roxbury, MA 02132.

It was established through an innovative public-private partnership between Paralyzed Veterans of America, Activision’s Call of Duty Endowment, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

“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.”

Joining Lawson was Elias Rojas, a 25-year-old U.S. Marine Corps veteran with disabilities from the Boston area. Through the program Rojas secured a good job with the U.S. Department of Justice in Boston.

“Paralyzed Veterans worked with me, each step of the way—from figuring out what I wanted to do to matching me with an employer. Today I’m back at work. I love my job and enjoy continuing to serve our nation. I couldn’t have done it without Paralyzed Veterans of America,” Rojas said.

Former VA Deputy Secretary Gordon Mansfield and board member of Activision’s Call of Duty Endowment spoke of the importance of tackling unemployment in a tough economy and empowering more veterans.

“The national unemployment rate of veterans with severe disabilities stands at 85 percent. We must take on this terrible statistic and in doing so, access the untapped potential and talent of our veterans,” Mansfield said. “Today we challenge our nation’s job sectors—private and public—to step up and hire more veterans with disabilities.”

Corrine D. Smith, acting chief medical officer for VA New England Healthcare System continued this theme in her remarks. “This private-public sector initiative helps to strengthen and build-on existing work by focusing on Veterans with severe disabilities,” said Smith. “VA provides excellent healthcare and rehab services to its Veteran population, and is working hard with partners like PVA to address challenges such as unemployment and under-employment.”

With vocational rehabilitation offices in Richmond, VA; Minneapolis, MN; San Antonio, TX; Long Beach, CA; Augusta, GA; and now Boston, Paralyzed Veterans has helped hundreds of veterans and is currently working with more than 200 major corporations in this nationwide effort.