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Helping veterans find a new job, service center offers aid - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Helping veterans find a new job, service center offers aid

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COLORADO SPRINGS -

Transitioning from military to civilian life can be pretty tough for veterans. 

A big challenge they face is finding a new job. 

One of the biggest advocates for veterans in the Colorado Springs area is Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center. The organization helps to guide former service members in interviewing skills, writing a solid resume, and helping them narrow down their field of interest. 

"I'm used to getting a paycheck on the 1st and the 15th. I don't even have a job coming up starting up next month."

These were the daunting thoughts running through Daniel Martinez's mind as he searched for employment post-army life.

Martinez said, "I was thinking about the family, thinking about the house. I sold my Harley. I mean who sells their Harley?" 

He thought he would have a job within a month of getting out.

"It was really about eight months before I started work."

It could've been longer had he not received help from Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center. Martinez went through the Peer Navigator Program. Now the director of employment & transition at the center, Martinez explains that veterans "don't know how well a lot of their skills actually transfer over."

Beyond that, when veterans put their skills or positions on a resume they sometimes get lost in translation. 

"Just looking at the position that someone held, you know, a platoon sergeant or a first sergeant in the military...but what does that really mean?"

That's where Mt. Carmel comes in handy.

"We help them with their resume. We help them network. We help them with interviewing techniques."

It's services like these that help employers better understand what skills a veteran has. 

"A platoon sergeant has been responsible for...managing resources, managing personnel, managing schedules."

The center is not only helping vets to land a new job, but also supporting them in striking out on their own. 

Eric Stewart said, "I was here once a month and they started to like my food, so now any time an event comes up they hire me."

The army veteran started his business, Boz Catering, two years ago. His advice for others transitioning to civilian life is to "find peers and mentors who retired and have started their own business."

On and off the battlefield these heroes need help and in the end, for someone to give them a chance. 

Martinez said, "Employers, please, take advantage of what these service members have to offer."

Mt. Carmel says it's estimated that about 400 people are leaving the military each month and that's just in the Colorado Springs area.

If you're a veteran looking for help finding your next job, here are some upcoming events to check out: 

  • Networking event at Red Leg Brewing Company on Thursday at 5 p.m. 
    • Opportunity for veterans and spouses to speak with employers
  • Military & Veterans Employment Expo
    • May 15-16 at Pikes Peak Community College 
      • Sessions start at 9 a.m. & 1:15 p.m.
      • Meet with industry professionals
    • May 17 at JCPenney Event Center at Chapel Hills Mall
      • Job Fair open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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