Vets fighting for jobs at home

November 11, 2008 8:34:17 PM PST
The familiar strains of 60's songs wafted through the barbeque at the Veterans Emergency Shelter in Menlo Park Tuesday.

Most people present were Vietnam-era vets, the ones in a seemingly-endless vicious cycle of homelessness and joblessness.

60-year old Robert Mclaughlin has been out of work for a couple of years. He was a U.S. Army quartermaster in charge of supplies. He thought he'd be a perfect fit for some jobs pointing out, "Well, retail sales, stock clerk, something like that? warehouse. That's what I'm good at."

We first met him at a veterans job fair in San Francisco three months ago.

When asked how the fair turned out he told ABC7, "I got a few promises which never came through."

He says his homelessness is the biggest obstacle in getting a job.

"As soon as you say you're homeless people automatically turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to you," he said.

In this bad economic climate veterans are finding it even tougher to find jobs.

We met Darryl Scott in September at a state-sponsored veteran's job fair. He lost his job when his company downsized. Now the employment rate has soared to a 14-year high.

There are so many people out of work and probably people who have master's degrees, PhDs and they're applying for the same positions," said Scott.

More than a month later, Scott still cannot find work.

New veterans are returning from the Middle East only to find out what Scott is learning: The battle to get jobs may take long a long time.

In a recent survey by Careerbuilder.com, 17-percent of job-seeking veterans said it took them more than six months to find employment.

Ward Carroll of Military.com says a veteran's biggest problem is "taking their skill set and civilianizing them."

"If you have a company that makes widgets, how does what you did in Iraq or Afghanistan translate into what this company does?" she asks.

Veteran's assistance groups say the challenge is getting employers to give them a chance.

Click here for more on careerbuilder.com's survey.

Here are some programs that assist returning vets who want to pursue and education.

University of California:
http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/veterans

UC Berkeley:
http://trsp.berkeley.edu/veterans.htm

State of California
http://www.troopstocollege.ca.gov


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