Edna, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, was referred to Paralyzed Veterans of America’s employment program, PAVE, by a PVA National Service Officer who was assisting with her VA benefits claim for her service-connected disabilities. At the time of the initial assessment, PAVE certified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Samantha Ruppert learned that Edna was an underemployed foster mom of three small children. Although she wanted to pursue a better-paying job, Edna found it difficult to balance the challenges of an active job search with managing her disabilities and other family responsibilities.

For months, Edna and her counselor worked closely together to identify suitable career opportunities based on her interests, education, and vocational goals. Edna holds an MBA and was interested in positions in Northern Virginia. Samantha identified a paid IT training opportunity. After successful completion of the two-month rigorous training program, a select group of participants were invited to apply and interview for full-time, entry-level IT positions. Edna was selected to interview for one of these positions and in September 2017, she was offered a position as a Project Coordinator & Analyst with a median starting salary.

In 2018, after being contacted by Allison Borden, another PAVE Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Edna expressed interest in growing in her field and taking on new responsibilities. Allison and Edna worked on Edna’s resume to be sure it captured her competency and accomplishments in her field. When the contract that Edna was previously working on was transitioned to a new company, Edna was recruited and received a promotion be the Program Manager for the contract with the new company, with a significant salary increase.

“PAVE literally saved my life,” says Edna. “A PAVE counselor came into my life when I was about to lose everything. I was working part-time, but I was not able to make ends meet. The paid training program led to a full-time position and ultimately to the position I have now. I will be eternally grateful, and I cannot say thanks enough.”