Employment: A New Battle For Veterans

- Imagine you have served in the armed force, you are highly trained and reliable, but when you return home you cannot find a job. 

It is a frustrating reality for too many veterans. It took a while for U.S. Army veteran Daniel Graham to land at the right company.

"I have no idea why it's so hard for us to find jobs," he said.

Dan served in northern Iraq as an Information Technology Specialist developing programs and troubleshooting military computer systems. 

"You kind of get caught in a catch 22 where I have the training, I have the experience [but] I don't have a degree," he said. "People are looking for degrees, certifications and all this."

Nancy Strong is an employment specialist at the Veterans Outreach Center.

"Probably this past year we have probably placed at least 250 veterans into employment," she said.

Nancy says the current unemployment rate for returning veterans in 12.5 percent. It is just over seven percent for the rest of the country. 

"I think a lot of employers don't realize that when you're in the military, all those jobs you find here in Rochester you will also find in the military," Strong said.

Dan's experience is typical. After the service the VOC helped him get a job, but the company downsized and he was laid off. He went back to the VOC.

"There's no shame in it. I mean, everyone needs help once in a while," he said.

They cleaned up his resume and directed him to job fairs. He networked with other veterans through Vet-Net and never gave up.

"I was there almost every day until I got a job," he recounted.

Dan now has a contract position doing IT work for a local security company. They like him and his skill so much, it looks like it will turn into a permanent position.

"I don't know where I'd be without the VOC," he said.

Dan has learned things work out and it doesn't hurt to have a little help from the Veterans Outreach Center.


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