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Vocational Rehabilitation Services at VA Portland

If you have a service-connected disability that limits your ability to work or prevents you from working, the VA Portland Veteran Readiness and Employment (formerly called Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment) can help.

Employment Walk-in Services

  • Mondays - 9:00 -11:00 a.m.

Vancouver VA campus, 1601 E Fourth Plain Blvd, 98661, Bldg. 18 (main entrance) 

  • Thursdays – 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. 

Community Resource and Referral Center (CRRC), in downtown Portland, 308 SW first Ave., 97204

  • Thursdays – 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Portland VA Medical Center, Bldg 104, P3 level, 3710 SW US Veterans Hospital Road, 97239 (go to the "MHICM / PRRC, Footsteps to Recovery" office area).

How to Access VHA Voc. Rehab Services

VHA Voc Rehab consult (TSES) submitted by a Primary Care Provider (PCP),Licensed Provider or Prescriber (Psychiatrist, APRN, PA), or accessed through a Walk-in Clinic.

The Program is for Veterans whose lives have been disrupted by mental illness or co-existing physical disability who would benefit from a supportive, stable, and structured approach to work related goals.

VHA Voc. Rehab utilizes work-based treatment to facilitate and strengthen employment potential and to provide a continuum of vocational skill development. Veterans work with clinical staff to overcome barriers in finding employment.

General contact numbers for Vocational Rehabilitation Services:

360-696-4061, ext. 34130 or 31274

Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist (VRS)

After admission into program, Veterans are assigned to a VRS who will assist them with job searching, career assessment, community referrals, and provide follow along supports (if needed).

VHA Voc Rehab helps improve skills including:

  • Communication
  • Computer Literacy/application skills
  • Working with others
  • Working in a structured environment
  • Responsibility & independence
  • Hands-on skills

Treatment Components

  • Transitional Work (TW)
  • Supportive Employment (SE)
  • Community Based employment Services (CBES)


Upon receipt of a consult, the Veteran will be contacted to contact their physician and complete a medical clearance form. Once complete, Veteran will be scheduled for an initial assessment by Voc. Rehab staff.

Following screening and evaluation, the Vocational Rehabilitation Specialists (VRS) will discuss program options with the Veteran. Veterans may be referred to other programs (i.e., VR&E, Community Employment Programs) if another program is more appropriate.

Enrollment decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.

Program Eligibility 

  • Veteran must be eligible for VA services
  • Veteran must be motivated to engage in competitive employment
  • Medical clearance will be obtained prior to CWT enrollment
  • For SE program enrollment, Veteran should have a Serious Mental Illness (SMI) diagnosis

Transitional Work (CWT-TW)

Transitional Work (TW) is a clinical vocational rehabilitation program that operates in a VA medical center and/or local community business industry. Participants are matched to real life work assignments for a time limited basis.  However, participants are not considered employees and do not receive traditional employee benefits.

During TW Programs veterans will:

  • Be introduced to the process/program
  • Complete a Vocational Assessment
  • Develop a treatment plan
  • Identify short-term and long-term career goals
  • Discover personal and work-related strengths and barriers
  • Learn the job search process including search techniques, job preparation and participation in mock interviews
  • Complete a job development profile (i.e. resume, cover letter, driver’s license, school transcripts, etc.)
  • Be placed in an assignment or discharged from services

Transitional Work placement includes:

  • Work therapy assignment up to 6 months (extensions beyond 6 months are very rare and are based on a case-by-case basis)
  • Work assignments beginning around 20 hours a week
  • Compensation stipend based on area minimum wage.
  • Weekly case management sessions
  • Weekly job site visits

Following graduation from the TW, Veterans will have developed the skills needed to move forward in obtaining competitive employment

Supported Employment (SE)

Supported Employment (SE) provides clinical support to Veterans in full or part-time competitive employment.   The focus is to assist Veterans with psychosis, or other serious mental illness, to gain access to meaningful competitive employment.  These services are generally phased out after a Veteran can maintain employment independently.

Community Based Employment Service (CBES)

The Community Based Employment Services Program (CBES) assists Veterans engaged with VA Mental Health in pursuing competitive employment in the community. The program aims to bolster Veterans’ confidence and self-esteem by assisting with:

  • Vocational assessments
  • Career exploration & development of employment goals
  • Job search support & job development
  • Help with resumes, job applications and cover letters
  • Interview skills building
  • Referrals to VA and community supplementary services & resources

Classes for Veterans

Open to all Veterans enrolled for health care.
To register: contact the VA Portland Community Employment Coordinator @  michael.benko@va.gov503-360- 4049. 

Veterans Interview Preparation Workshop (Online)

4th Friday every month @ 10 a.m.

  • Prepare for Interviews & Understand Employer Expectations
  • Interview Formats and Styles
  • Discuss Answers to Difficult Questions
  • Making a Good First Impression

Résumé and Cover Letter Workshop (Online)

2nd Friday every month @ 10 a.m.

  • No résumé?  How to get started
  • Career Exploration
  • Résumé Formats and Styles
  • Cover Letter Preparation 
  • Maintaining a Job Search Log

USA Jobs/Federal Applications Workshop (Online)

3rd Thursday every month @ 2 p.m.

•    Two-factor Authorization
•    Create an Account and Build a Profile
•    Hiring Paths and Veterans Preference
•    Prepare a Master Résumé
•    Preview Assessment Questionnaire
•    Selective and Qualitative Factors


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