Compensated Work Therapy - VA Northern California Health Care System
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VA Northern California Health Care System

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Compensated Work Therapy

  • Lead: Roslyn Lopez, MS, CRC
  • Contact: (925) 372-2665

The Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) program is located at the Oakland Behavioral Health Clinic and the Martinez Outpatient Clinic and is comprised of three related components, CWT-Supported Employment (CWT-SE) and CWT – Homeless Veterans Supported Employment Program (HVSEP), and CWT- Transitional Work (CWT-TW). Please note that CWT-SE and HVSEP are only offered at the Oakland Clinic and CWT-TW is only offered at the Martinez Clinic. CWT-SE services are designed for Veterans with serious mental illness. Limited services are also available to Veterans with nonpsychotic psychiatric issues. The goal of services is to engage the Veteran in a rapid job search and placement in a competitive position in the community. Services include: assistance with resume writing, job applications, interview techniques, resources such as clothing and transportation, and continuous monitoring, including job coaching when appropriate, once on the job help to ensure that the Veteran will be successful in obtaining and maintaining employment. With Veteran agreement, staff works closely with community employers to emphasize the advantages of hiring Veterans and to ensure success on the job. There is no time limit for CWT-SE services; Veterans remain enrolled in the program as long as supports are needed.

HVSEP is a Social Work Services program, but is administered by Mental Health Services. Veterans must be enrolled in the Housing and Urban Development – VA Supported Housing (HUD-VASH), Grant Per Diem (GPD), Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO), or Health Care to Reentry Veterans (HCRV) programs and have a history of being unable to obtain and/or difficulty independently maintaining community employment for more than 3 months in order to be eligible for services. The goal of services is the same as CWT-SE, including rapid job search and placement in a competitive position in the community. Services are limited, however, to 90 days after the Veteran has successfully obtained employment and is stable in the work environment.

CWT/TW is a program for Veterans that want to return to work now with their current work skills, but need help with work adjustment. Veterans are placed in temporary job sites at the VA Hospital where they work in the following positions for 3- 6 months: right now we have placements in the Canteen (food service) and will soon have some with Housekeeping, Warehouse, and the Mailroom. Veterans are seen as patients in the program not employees. They are paid min wage tax free per every hour that they work. They work between 20-40 hours a week. Veterans are provided with assistance in updating their resume, improving interview skills and locating employment in the community. Veterans are also provided with feedback in regards to their work behaviors. The goal of the program is to transition to employment in the community.