Vets: Workforce Center Key to Land Jobs


George "Woody" Garner has several jobs listed on his resume -- cab driver, electrician, tattoo artist. He's been a college student, a bouncer and a maintenance man at an apartment complex.

Today Garner, a former Marine, works for Schmidt Construction Company, where he started as a laborer and worked up to a "Dirt Boss."

Humphries, 49, registered for classes in the water quality management program at Pikes Peak Community College. Thirty course credits later, he expects to receive his associate's degree in December. He is working a temporary job with Colorado Springs Utilities as a treatment plant operator.

"Hopefully real soon that will be a regular position," Humphries said.

While Garner and Humphries are considered success stories, many of their younger counterparts struggle.

Last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that unemployment rates among new veterans during the first nine months of 2010 averaged 11.8 percent.

"The quicker they [new veterans] get to work, the quicker they get better," Garner said. "If they stay stagnant, that's when the bad things start happening."

Garner listed drugs, alcohol and post-traumatic stress disorder as some of the challenges veterans face when first leaving the military.

"You go from all this order to no structure," Garner said. "We're like children. We're looking for discipline, we're looking for order, we're looking for structure."

Despite his wish that employers would make hiring veterans a priority, Garner understands the economic struggles employers face.

"A lot of employers are looking at the bottom line," Garner said. "Just don't shut the door in their face. Even if it's something menial, give them the chance to impress you."

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