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Ask the VA: What is a Community Employment Coordinator?

Column provided by Manchester VA
April 25. 2018 5:48PM

MaryAnn Rees ... CEC (COURTESY)



A VA Community Employment Coordinator (CEC) helps to ensure the occupational wellness of veterans who are homeless or are at risk of homelessness.

Working on the VA’s mental health recovery team, CECs work collaboratively with the teams of the VA’s Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) Program and other programs internal and external to the VA.

CECs know it’s not just about finding the job and getting hired — it’s also about the details and support needed to overcome barriers and maintain employment.

CECs can enact interview practice sessions and offer help with resume writing and computer-based job searches.

They engage directly with community employers to learn what the employers’ needs are, and to educate them on the unique benefits of hiring veterans.

When veterans secure job opportunities, CECs provide them with contact information for the Veterans Justice Outreach Program and for local resources offering help with transportation, clothing, food, child care, legal issues and more.

As part of the veterans’ recovery journey, the CEC assists them in identifying work-related goals and/or alternatives such as utilizing the VA’s vocational rehabilitation service or returning to school.

When applicable, the CEC will make referrals to agencies, employers and higher-education institutions on behalf of the veterans.

Who can get involved by receiving/offering help?

• Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and who are in need of assistance with employment, training, or education

• Employers wishing to hire veterans

• Entities able to offer financial or other assistance

• Agencies able to offer transportation

• Agencies specializing in employment resources

• Institutes of higher education with veteran-specific resources

Who is the VA point of contact?

Anyone who falls into the above categories can reach out to MaryAnn Rees, CEC with the Manchester VA. Rees knows of available resources in New Hampshire for veterans seeking employment, and she hopes to build a network of employers who are interested in hiring these veterans.

Rees can be contacted in writing: Mental Health Service 116A, Manchester VA Medical Center, 718 Smyth Road, Manchester, NH 03104. She can also be reached at MaryAnn.Rees@va.gov or (603) 624-4366, ext. 2780.

Veterans with other questions about medical care and other services at the Manchester VA can send their questions, which could be the basis for a future column, to Kristin.Pressly@va.gov. The veterans will remain anonymous.


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