Compensated Work Therapy - Atlanta VA Health Care System
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Compensated Work Therapy



CWT programs strive to maintain highly responsive long term quality relationships with business and industry promoting employment opportunities for veterans with physical and mental disabilities. Many of our individual programs are accredited by the Commision on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) and are members of the U.S. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association (USPRA). Typically CWT programs are located within VA Medical Centers in most large metropolitan areas and many smaller communities.

Compensated Work Therapy:

Transitional Residence | Transitional Work | Supported Employment | For Employers | Contact Us

Welcome to the Department of Veterans Affairs website for Compensated Work Therapy. Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) is a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) vocational rehabilitation program that endeavors to match and support work ready veterans in competitive jobs, and to consult with business and industry regarding their specific employment needs. In some locations CWT is also known as Veterans Industries; these designations are synonymous.

Check out our Success Stories.

VIDEO: Watch our video, Partnering with America's Veterans, featuring John Glenn, Senator and first American to orbit the earth. The video will open in Windows Media Player and closed captioning is available. Note: If you need Windows Media Player for Windows or Mac operating systems, go to the VA's Viewer Software page.

Transitional Residence

The Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) Transitional Residence (TR) program is a mental health residential rehabilitation treatment program for male and female Veterans. The program is designed to assist Veterans who are transitioning into independent living by providing rehabilitative services and comprehensive treatment.

Veterans are screened by the physician/psychiatrist prior to admission into the TR house.  Veterans must receive a complete H&P examination by a qualified health provider and be medically cleared for admission.  Baseline labs are ordered on all Veterans participating in the MH RRTP.

Veterans must consent to a full comprehensive bio psychosocial assessment as he or she must be cleared from a mental health perspective prior to entering the TR house. Veterans’ strengths, preferences, goals, needs, abilities, and interest are explored during the screening process in order to establish an appropriate treatment plan.  Veterans will be assessed by a physician/psychiatrist prior to entry into the TR house as each Veteran must be able to safely self medicate in order to meet program criteria.

All TR house residents must be able to have a basic understanding of the purpose and common side effects of each medication as they will be responsible for storing, securing, and the self administration of all of their medication.  The resident is expected to take all medication as prescribed by the treating physician.

Residents are prohibited from using or possessing alcohol and non prescribed drugs while residing in the MH RRTP. Residents will be breathalyzed randomly and receive random urine drug screens during their stay.

Each TR house resident will meet with the TR house psychiatrist monthly for medication management and monitoring.  Closer follow-up can be arranged when appropriate. All residents are provided with the contact number for the attending physician/psychiatrist and can reach them by phone at any time.

For the purpose of continuity, residents are encouraged to continue meeting with their outpatient psychiatrist during their stay.  Veterans dealing with trauma or substance abuse issues can be referred to the respective programs. Veterans dealing with ongoing trauma and substance abuse issues are encouraged to participate in recovery work.

Program involvement is encouraged and TW worksites will make special accommodations for the Veteran to attend necessary appointments and group meetings. prior to successful discharge, each Veteran will be set up with community resources to help transition successfully into the community.


A home to Veterans

The CWT/TR Program is home to Veterans of all different backgrounds, who have had a hard time maintaining a job due to a variety of reasons. By participating in the CWT/TR Programs, Veterans will have structure and support to maintain sobriety or manage mental health issues while seeking employment. Veterans will participate in the Compensated Work Therapy Program and usually work 32 hours a week.


What are the eligibility requirements?

Any Veteran who is homeless and wanting to work needs to have a HOMES assessment done to be referred to the CWT/TR Programs. Eligible Veterans must be medication independent, be willing to follow all the CWT/TR Program rules and guidelines, be willing to work a strong recovery program, be able to take care of themselves including cooking and opening a savings or checking account.

What are the criteria for staying in the house?

Each Veterans must:

  • Attend three recovery meetings a week (i.e. AA, NA, NAMI, WRAP)
  • Attain a sponsor
  • Open a bank account
  • Participate in the CWT program with the goal of attaining competitive employment in the community

What does it cost?

Each Veteran will pay a fee to live at the TR House. The fee will either be paid by the Veteran or taken out of his or her CWT/TW pay. This money is used to purchase cleaning supplies for the houses, laundry detergent and household necessities.

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Transitional Work Program:

The Transitional Work (TW) is a pre-employment vocational assessment program that operates in the VA medical center and local community businesses. TW participants are screened by vocational rehabilitation staff, assessed and matched to a work assignment for a limited time as deemed clinically appropriate. TW work assignments are supervised by work site staff, and impose the same job expectations as are experienced by non-CWT workers in the organization or company.

Every CWT/TW participant has an Individual Treatment or Service Plan and is case managed by a VA Vocational Specialist. Veterans participating in TW are not considered employees of the VA or participating company, and receive no traditional employee benefits. Payments received by participating TW veterans are tax exempt. There are no direct government entitlements that subsidize the veteran's earnings in TW programs.

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Supported Employment Program:

The Supported Employment (SE) program consists of competitive employment with therapeutic supports integrated into treatment. Veterans perceived to have significant barriers to competitive work are able to engage in full and part-time employment with appropriate supports and workplace accommodation. CWT/SE follow-up may continue indefinitely, but generally participation and supports are phased out after the veteran is able to maintain employment independently. Veterans must have a SMI diagnosis that fall in the 295.00 and 300.00 range on the DSM/5 to be eligible.

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Information for Employers - Compensated Work Therapy:

The CWT program provides a cost effective means of achieving your company's production goals of managing costs and improving service delivery, while maintaining high quality standards. CWT is a national vocational rehabilitation program that assists veterans return to competitive employment; making a living wage and building their self-esteem while contribution to the community.

Using a business model, CWT program staff specialize in working with facility management, human resource, and/or production personnel to address labor force deficits. If your company is searching for prescreened workers to address staffing shortfalls, please contact[hyperlink] us.

Cost Management

1. Additional Workforce:

  • Readily available competitive, semi-skilled and skilled labor for short term and permanent assignments.
  • Veteran workers are pre-screened and matched to the specific job requirement.
  • There is little risk for the company working with the CWT transitional work program. The employer/employee relationship is non-existent, and there is no mandated obligation to hire the veteran. However, veterans typically demonstrate their value to the participating company which often results in permanent hires.

2. Reduce Overhead Costs:

  • With the CWT transitional work program there are none of the normal employee costs like health care, workers compensation insurance, vacation and sick time, FICA, and job vacancy advertising.
  • Training and employee assistance are provided at no cost to the company.
  • Comprehensive medical costs are covered by the VA.
  • Work can also be completed in one of our CWT facilities, if workshop services are provided, reducing demands on your space, utilities, inventory and time. 

Service Availability

The CWT veteran labor force is available to help you meet peak or unexpected workload demands.

Quality Standards

CWT staff promotes Quality Right behavior for all associated stakeholders; demanding only the highest in quality workmanship and performance. CWT welcomes an opportunity to work with you to develop and meet your company's specific quality goals. Many of our programs are CARF accredited and work with ISO9000 certified companies

CWT provides a wide range of services for industry including; work site and job assessment, staff training and consultation services, employee assessment and screening, and job matching and follow-up services. CWT supports veterans through vocational case management and workplace supports to facilitate continued employment success. In conjunction with the CWT program industry is able to expand its work ready applicant pool and develop a pre-screening opportunity for future employees.

Our mission is to provide a realistic and meaningful vocational opportunity to veterans; encouraging successful reintegration into the community at the veterans' highest functional level. To achieve this mission we develop partnerships with companies who want high quality work completed on a timely basis at a competitive price. The expectation of quality, as demanded by industry, helps create and maintain our programs atmosphere of success.

CWT can help your company by providing:

  • Labor services for semi-skilled and unskilled positions in, but not limited to, information technology, office management, clerical, retail, manufacturing and production, warehousing, manual labor, food services, etc.
  • Professional rehabilitation support including staff education, task analysis and job modification, Vocational Case Management, and follow-along services. CWT staffs are knowledgeable about ADA, reasonable accommodation and assistive technology.
  • On and off site assembly and sub-assembly
  • On and off site custom packaging
  • Reclaiming and recycling services
  • Inspection, grading and sorting products for industry

The Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) Supported Employment program identifies veteran strengths and matches those skills and abilities to industries job requirements. One important feature in CWT Supported Employment services is it's level of staff support; operating much like a free employee assistance program for your company. The CWT "temp to hire" Transitional Work program allows a company to pre-screen veterans, observing them in action before making a decision regarding competitive employment. Depending on your company's specific needs, CWT may be an efficient and effective source for temporary and permanent workers or a means for completing work on a piece rate or job rate basis 

New & Events

  • Stay updated on the latest news regarding CWT in general or specific CWT Programs.

  • CWT often hosts various events, job fairs, trainings, and veteran/employer centered projects. Please check this page often to get information on past or upcoming events.

  • Every Tuesday of each week (that does not fall on a Federal Holiday week), CWT hosts an information session to provide comprehensive details for all the programs managed by the CWT staff. Each forum is presented from 8am-12AM at the Atlanta VA Medical Center's Fort McPherson Campus in building 128. Every Thursday of each week (that does not fall on a Federal Holiday week), CWT, in collaboration with Goodwill of North Georgia, hosts a resume building session at Goodwill of North East Plaza at 3337 Buford Highway in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Success Stories - Compensated Work Therapy:

The main objective of the CWT program is the personal enhancement of participating Veterans. We strive to provide an effective and efficient solution for each stakeholder and in doing so, we have developed a history of success for Veterans and organizations. We would like to share some of these real stories of achievement with you

Success Story: (Some of the names and details may have been changed to protect the veteran’s privacy)

John Doe Veteran

Admitted to CWT/SE on April, 2011

Started working on June 2013

Sober from drugs/alcohol since November 2013

Read the full success story (see rest of story below)

“Participating in the supported employment program has been a really positive experience for me. With the support I received from my VRS, and other mental health providers; I have been sober from drugs/alcohol for over 2 years, and II have been able to find and maintain a stable place to live. I feel really good about myself. The supported employment program has helped me to obtain/maintain my job; which has contributed overall to me feeling better about myself. “

Jane Doe Veteran

A 59 year old African American female Vietnam Era Veteran. She enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1973 and was discharged in 1975. She moved to the Atlanta area to live with family and to make a change. She began working on a part-time basis at several reputable businesses, but did not feel she was working toward a career she enjoyed and wanted to pursue.

Read the full success story (see rest of story below)

She began receiving services through her VA providers, and as she continued to get assistance with her health, she was referred to the Compensated Work Therapy/Supported Employment Program. Even though she was working part time, the Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist conducted an assessment and realized that the veteran had a lot of potential. The veteran had experience working in the health care field from her enlistment in the U.S. Army medical corps. She also worked briefly as a phlebotomist.

After her assessment, it was during the development of her vocational planning, that she decided to pursue a helping profession. She learned from her Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist that a training program was available for mental health consumers who wanted to work their recovery and assist other consumers by becoming a peer specialist. The veteran saved her funds and applied for the training.

She completed her training and within thirty days passed the certification test. Soon afterwards she was hired as a crisis coordinator and peer specialist at a local Georgia Mental Health facility. She began working there for the experience and soon began to enjoy her role as a helping person.

After nearly eighteen months of experience, her vocational rehabilitation specialist informed her that the VA would be opening up opportunities for peer support specialists. Her vocational rehabilitation specialist provided job placement assistance and the veteran was hire based upon her own experience and merit.

Today she is working at the Atlanta VA. The veteran has been on her job for one year and is assisting in program design and implementation. She has continued to progress by becoming an advocate for women in crisis and for veterans in the community that need services. She also speaks at community and other related programs and functions. 

The veteran is well respected and loved by her coworkers and peers alike. She continues to work on her recovery. Although she is still adjusting to her job, she can be depended on to go out of her way to help any veteran that wants assistance. For that reason, she is an exemplary example of what the CWT/Supported Employment Program is all about: Returning veterans with disability to competitive employment.

Jane Doe Veteran

Jane Doe Veteran served in the US Air Force for 10 years prior to serving a conviction of 18 years for manslaughter. Upon her release through the Veterans’ Justice Outreach (VJO) Jane understood the difficulties she would face in securing competitive employment.

Read the full success story (see rest of story below)

Not to one to be easily discouraged, Jane set about her job search with a determination to, “look for a job like it’s my 9-5,” she often quoted. Although, she had been trained in the military as an airplane mechanic, working at an airport represented a barrier to employment with her criminal background. Jane worked with her HVSE Specialist to get to various local airports in hopes of securing interviews or open opportunities. Jane regularly pursued online, agency, and word-of-mouth job leads.

Jane was a woman of her word and before long she had secured a job, then another job and yet another. However, within weeks and sometimes even days, she would be let go from a promising job citing her background even though she had disclosed. This process of getting hired then fired went on for months. Also, because Jane was a certified Physical Trainer, she was also periodically conducted trainings or looked for opportunities to be picked up by a gym on a permanent basis.

Finally, Jane decided that pursuing an education in Paralegal Studies might be a better choice for her once VRAP was offered. Jane not only maintains two part-time jobs, at times, but has completed her college education and is now interning with a law firm.

Jane is grateful for the HVSE Program that assisted her to get closer to her dreams of becoming a contributing member of society again. 

To Whom It May Concern.

Upon completion of the CWT Program at Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center, I received a questionnaire on my experience while in the program.

My Vocational Rehab Specialist believed in me before I could believe in myself. When I came to the program I was pretty desperate. I could not find employment due to my criminal record. I was in an abusive relationship and I felt I was at the end of my rope. I was scared to death of ending my relationship because it meant I had no immediate place to go except back to California. Please understand what I mean when I say, “scared to death” of going back because it most likely meant I would have ended up back on the streets. I have 8 years clean and I know what would happen if I was homeless in Hollywood. I would have died, of this I am positive. Before I got clean I was homeless for 16 years. I spent 13 of those years living in a box (not a metaphor) behind a dumpster at a gas station in Hollywood California. I was addicted to heroin and would do “anything I had to do” to get my next fix. 

Upon entering the CWT Transitional Work Program I felt my life was a hopeless mess. I was overwhelmed at all the things I needed to do to get my life back in order. My Vocational Rehab Specialist advised me I could do it. I attended the regular Tuesday “Job Readiness” classes and applied the guidance I was given. It made sense. Designing a winning resume and making myself marketable were some great tips I was given. Then one day my Vocational Specialist said, “Set a goal and remain focused.” My goal at that time became to secure employment with the VA and to also become self-sufficient. They encouraged me to have faith in myself. I attended my regular treatment team meetings and was shocked by the support the other staff members gave me and along with the encouragement I received. I put the things they taught me into practice. I started to feel good about myself for the first time in years. I became proud of my work.

My Vocational Rehab Specialist has touched my heart in a way I never felt possible. They’ve taught and motivated me like I have never encountered before. They make me want to succeed and without candy coating anything.

To sum things up, today I am an Employee of the Federal Government. My Vocational Rehab Specialist gave me the courage to end an extremely abusive relationship. For the first time in my life I have my own apartment. Also something happened I didn’t expect to happen, I gained a healthy level of self-respect I am no longer ashamed to be me.


A Very Grateful Veteran




Vocational Specialists:

Tina Aldridge, M.S., CRC
404-321-6111 ext. 202324
Jarvis Hudson, M.S., CRC
Karen Jackson, M.S., M.Ed.
Mareba Lewis, M.S.

Homeless Veterans Supported Employment:

Danial Sims, M.S., LAPC, CRC
John Armstrong
Darryl Jackson, B.S.
404-321-6111 ext. 205972
Willie Sanders, BCS
Main Line:
404-321-6111 ext. 205972

Supported Employment:

Danielle Hale, M.S., LPC, CRC
Kenneth Walker, MPA, MSW, CPRP

Transitional Residence:

Mary Luckie, M.S., MRC

If you are a recruiter for a company with jobs or agency with Employment Services, please contact:

Tracy Roberts, Ed.S.

Program Support:

Carol Beauford
404-321-6111 ext. 207442

Program Manager:

Baron Owes
404-321-6111 ext. 207438