Labor Department Launches ‘America’s Heroes at Work’ Web Site
By Kristen Noel
Special to American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 22, 2008 The U.S. Labor Department launched a Web site called “America’s Heroes at Work” this week to help veterans afflicted with traumatic-brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder succeed in the workplace.
“America’s Heroes at Work really focuses on the employment challenges of our returning veterans from the war on terror, if they are living with a brain injury or living with a stress disorder,” Charles S. Ciccolella, the Labor Department’s assistant secretary for Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, told bloggers in a Aug. 22 teleconference to discuss the new Web site.
Ciccolella said the Labor Department collaborated with the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments to build the site. The three agencies are working together to make veterans’ transition back into the civilian workplace and their communities as smooth as possible, he added.
“We know that a number of our servicemembers are coming back with some level of brain injury, as a result of blast injuries or successive-blast injuries, or may be coming back with stress,” he said.
While not visibly debilitating, Ciccolella explained, these “silent injuries” can cause minor health problems such as headaches, vertigo, anxiety or sleep disturbances. They also can trigger cognitive issues such as memory loss or concentration problems, he said.
“We know it’s a significant enough issue that we want to pay some serious attention to it,” he said.
America’s Heroes at Work provides numerous resources to help employers integrate veterans who have suffered traumatic-brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder into the workplace. There are many “very simple accommodations” employers can make for servicemembers with these minor ailments, Ciccolella said.
The resources offered on the Web site include fact sheets, reference guides, training tools, and real-life success stories.
“Employment plays absolutely a major role in the rehabilitation of our servicemembers, regardless of the kind of injuries that they may have,” Ciccolella said.
(Kristen Noel works for the New Media directorate of the Defense Media Activity.)