This week, representatives from organizations across Oregon gathered at Portland State University for the Study for Employment Retention of Veterans (SERVe) Employer Summit. SERVe, a 5-year study funded by the Department of Defense, is aimed at increasing the retention of veteran employees within organizations and improving the health and well-being of veterans and their families through supervisor training. At the Summit, members of the SERVe research team, led by Dr. Leslie Hammer of Oregon Health & Science University and Portland State University, shared the progress of the SERVe project and discussed future endeavors with 65 community professionals and researchers from around the region.
Leslie Hammer, the Principal Investigator of SERVe, welcomed the audience and gave presentations about the SERVe project and the results of the supervisor training. Cynthia Mohr, Co-Investigator of SERVe and Professor at Portland State University, also gave a presentation about the Daily Family Study (DFS), a 32-day study of over 150 couples comprised of a participating Veterans from the SERVe project along with their spouses. The DFS aims to capture a better understanding of day-to-day issues that veterans and their families face, including psychological health, work-family conflict, and experiences with children. Additionally, Phoenix Rainbird demonstrated the Veteran Supportive Supervisor Training (VSST, the training product of the SERVe project).
During lunch three members of the SERVe research community shared insights about their Veteran related services and transition experiences. First, Dawn Taylor from Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) discussed the nature and scope of services provided to civilian-sector Veteran employees, which include educating employers about federal law regarding deployment and subsequent reintegration into the workforce. Second, Charles “Buddy” Byrd of the United States Forest Service briefly discussed some of his and his colleague’s experiences transitioning from the military to the civilian workplace, and how important training supervisors on this transition process can be for Veterans. Finally, Michelle Kochosky, Director of the Oregon National Guard Service Member and Family Support Services gave an overview of the services that her organization provides and outlined her relationships with partner organizations all aligned around supporting service members and Veterans.
Overall the SERVe Summit was a wonderful achievement, and the SERVe team was excited to put a capstone on their work with the Oregon community concerning this specific study. The next steps they will take include further examination of the data to better understand the effects of the supervisor training on service member and spouse health and well-being, and dissemination of both the research findings and the supervisor training.
Submitted by Derek Brown and Luke Mahoney, Research Assistants