The Oregonian: PSU psychologist wins $5 million Defense Department grant to train supervisors of employed veterans
Author: Mike Francis
Posted: March 18, 2013

Read the original article in The Oregonian here.

A team led by a professor in Portland State University's Department of Psychology has landed a five-year, $5 million Defense Department grant to provide training for supervisors of military veterans. Unlike many programs intended to reduce veterans' unemployment, the Portland State study will aim to improve the health and well-being of employed veterans by providing more supportive workplaces.

"I'm very excited," said Leslie Hammer, Ph.D., an occupational psychologist who is Industrial/Organizational Psychology director in the university's Psychology Department. "We want to make life better for veterans as much as possible."

Hammer said the study will focus on Oregon veterans of the National Guard and the Reserves. She has been developing her grant proposal for two years in coordination with the Oregon Guard's Reintegration Team and is collaborating with partners from the Portland VA Medical Center and Oregon Health & Science University.

She said she and her team will spend the next six months developing the study protocol and then will begin recruiting employers who hire veterans. She said she expects to offer them an online training program that could be rolled out nationally.

While veterans of all ages have a lower rate of unemployment than the population as a whole, young veterans are more likely to be unemployed than their civilian peers. The problem may be more acute for members of the Guard and Reserves, who may be pulled from their work in the civilian world and sent to active duty. When their active-duty stints are finished, they may have difficulties finding, returning to and retaining their jobs.

"These are absolutely critical issues," said Hammer. "It is a major concern and it is not going away."