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Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) Program

The CWT Program provides job development and counseling services to Veterans with a wide range of barriers to employment, which may include medical and/or mental health disorders, homelessness, and any combination thereof.

While in the program, Veterans are provided with ongoing support services like referrals to housing programs, resources for help with transportation, clothing and other needs, and information on how employment will affect their current benefits.

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CWT case managers assist Veterans in obtaining and refining employment skills, resume preparation and employment applications, interview techniques, job leads, and adapting to the work environment.

Some of the employment needs Veterans can seek help with include:

  • Creation of job objectives
  • Information on the local job market and trends
  • Information on various industries
  • Navigating online job boards and applications
  • Setting up email addresses
  • Job leads
  • Help with resume writing
  • Interview skills

CWT is made up of 6 components:

Transitional Work (CWT/TW)

The TW Program places Veterans in a rehabilitative work setting, either within VA or other federal agencies, or with private businesses in the community. The length of the program varies according to individual participants’ needs and vocational goals but generally should not exceed 1 year.

Participants in the TW Program take part in at least 20 hours of structured vocational rehabilitation activities per week through assigned temporary therapeutic work assignments.

Transitional Residence Program (CWT/TR)

The TR Program is a 10-bed, community-based residential program. It provides a structured therapeutic environment in which Veterans participate in vocational rehabilitation activities at least 30 hours per week. Assigned case managers will collaborate with Veterans on securing permanent housing and competitive employment, money management, time management, leisure activities, various social skills, personal hygiene, health, and wellness.

Veterans enrolled in CBES, TW or IPS may be referred to TR by their case managers. The maximum time Veterans can be in the TR Program is 1 year.

Individual Placement and Support (CWT/IPS)

The IPS Program provides competitive placement with onsite support services for participants with a diagnosis of severe mental illness (SMI). Participants are placed in competitive jobs in the community.

Case managers for IPS continue working with clients and employers at job sites for an unlimited amount of time after job placement to assist Veterans in maintaining employment. IPS staff also assists clients with job carving and advocating for any necessary accommodations.

Community-Based Employment Services (CWT/CBES)

The CBES Program assists Veterans in pursuing competitive employment in the community. It serves Veterans with a variety of barriers to employment, including medical and/or mental health disorders, homelessness, and other obstacles. Case managers assist participants with vocational assessments, job searches, interview skills, and job development.

Veterans are provided with support services before and after job placement as well as referrals to VA and community supplementary services.

Supported Education (CWT/Supp.Ed.)

Supported Education provides case-managed, recovery-oriented educational assistance services to Veterans who wish to pursue educational opportunities. The program provides Veterans with information on how to access and utilize available educational benefits as well as assistance with applying to schools and connecting with counselors.

Case managers work with the Veteran to provide intensive support throughout the application process as well as with career counseling, networking with other agencies, and visiting campuses.

Veterans do not need to be enrolled in another CWT component to participate in Supported Education.

Vocational Assistance

The CWT Program provides vocational assistance for Veterans on a drop-in basis. Vocational rehabilitation specialists provide support services to Veterans seeking employment, education, or retraining.


To be eligible for all CWT programs, Veterans must:

  • Be eligible for VA services
  • Have a signed referral (CWT consult) from a VA provider who maintains medical privileges, like a psychiatrist, psychologist, physician, select nurse practitioner, or licensed clinical social worker
  • Have medical clearance from a VA medical provider
  • Have a primary care physician as well as a mental health treatment coordinator

Contact us

Palo Alto VA Medical Center-Menlo Park
795 Willow Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025
Building 349
Phone: 650-493-5000 ext. 28464

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