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The Conversation: Vets' not-so welcome home
Sacramento Bee ^ | 05 Nov 11 | Foon Rhee

Posted on 11/09/2011 4:21:22 PM PST by blueplum

Aboard the USS Nimitz, Alex Martinez helped assemble bombs dropped on Iraq and Afghanistan. Now in civilian life, he's looking for any job he can get.

After nearly 5 1/2 years in the Navy, he was discharged and moved last year from San Diego to Sacramento for a fresh start. So far it has been sour.

Hoping for better luck, Martinez, 26, came to the annual "Honor a Hero, Hire a Vet" job fair. At the Sacramento Kings table, he asked about working as a janitor. [snip]

A week later, I sat in on a special class for veterans at Sierra College in Rocklin, part of a nationally recognized program to help them succeed in school – a popular option when the jobs picture is so bleak. But there's only room for 25 to 30 vets in the "Boots to Books" program, and it's only offered during fall semester. So I couldn't help thinking that, in the larger picture, it's barely a blip.

About 30,000 men and women leave the military and return to California each year. That surge will grow in the next few years as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq wind down... [snip]

The unemployment rates for veterans age 20 to 24 (24.9 percent) and 25 to 34 (20.1 percent) are substantially higher than their non-veteran peers, according to state figures.

Read more:

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; US: California
KEYWORDS: california; employment; veterans
This well-written article from last Sunday is an engrossing read, describing the hurdles vets face finding jobs (and direction) in California's economy, lack of community college-based programs and space for vets, and the gutting of state programs to assist returning warriors.

The article also describes a program developed by Catherine Morris and Michelle Johnson at Sierra College in Rocklin, California, called "Boots to Books". The program provides constructive comradarie in classroom settings that put an emphasis on military values. There is also a strong focus on opportunities for the vets (and their families) to bond in off-campus activity settings, paid for by fundraising.

Boots to Books sounds like a great program that could be adapted anywhere across the country - and not just in college settings.

Described in the Bee article, Alex Martinez, a skilled technician, was willing to accept a janitor's job to put food on the table. If that doesn't make your eyes water, I don't know what does. So many vets just don't know how to translate their military skills into marketable civilian skills, and have no visible vet network for support to help them find the jobs they deserve - and each other. Many had no college prep before going into the military and the fail-safes provided by the GI bill won't help if they aren't enrolled in a training program somewhere.

With federal and state funding for vets constantly changing at the whims of politicians, maybe we can start our own programs - as a town, as a community, as a workplace. The program at Sierra College is run by two people. Just two. Imagine what could be accomplished if 'just two' people got together in each town and started a program to help reintegrate our returning vets and help them network with each other. Not just within colleges, but tradespeople, too, who can help vets translate their skills.

Let's see what we can do to welcome our warriors home with jobs. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers and their families are counting on us to step up to the task.

1 posted on 11/09/2011 4:21:25 PM PST by blueplum
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To: blueplum

When our military comes home, we need to keep them in the military until they can find jobs. Their families are counting on us, especially since they put their lives on the line in another country. But Obama is going to lay them off as soon as they get home. This should be obvious to everyone since he is asking the country to hire them. I say no...keep them employed in the military until they find a job outside of the military. That’s the least we can do for them.

2 posted on 11/09/2011 4:30:35 PM PST by RC2
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To: RC2
Even Viet Nam Veterans have troubles with one year wait times for disabilities and treatment at hospitals.
3 posted on 11/09/2011 4:35:11 PM PST by mountainlion (I am voting for Sarah after getting screwed again by the DC Thugs.)
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To: mountainlion

I’m a Viet vet, there are no jobs in Ct for people with my background.

4 posted on 11/09/2011 4:49:05 PM PST by brivette (lol!)
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To: brivette

AIReC, my first job after returning from VietNam was as a porter in a men’s clothing store. And I had a college degree. It took me 6 years to find a job in the field I majored in in college.

5 posted on 11/09/2011 5:11:06 PM PST by VietVet (I am old enough to know who I am and what I believe, and I 'm not inclined to apologize for any of)
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To: brivette
I got out just before Carter and things were good until he took office. I went to College for Construction Management but never worked in that field because of Carters depression. Things look worse now. I had good luck with my county veteran people though.
6 posted on 11/09/2011 5:29:25 PM PST by mountainlion (I am voting for Sarah after getting screwed again by the DC Thugs.)
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Click the Pic

These lions can't figure out why you haven't donated yet.

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7 posted on 11/09/2011 5:54:43 PM PST by TheOldLady (FReepmail me to get ON or OFF the ZOT LIGHTNING ping list)
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To: blueplum

You just have to go where the work is. North Dakota has work going begging. For every job filled, there are 1 and 1/2 jobs that come open.

8 posted on 11/09/2011 6:11:30 PM PST by Lion Den Dan
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; ...

Thanks blueplum.

9 posted on 11/09/2011 6:55:33 PM PST by SunkenCiv (It's never a bad time to FReep this link --
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To: Lion Den Dan

I’m looking at ND more and more.

10 posted on 11/09/2011 11:55:49 PM PST by wally_bert (It's sheer elegance in its simplicity! - The Middleman)
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To: blueplum

“...lack of community college-based programs and space for vets, and the gutting of state programs to assist returning warriors.”

And yet, California still has enough money to provide free healthcare, education, food stamps and tax refunds to illegal aliens.

I can only imagine how frustrating it must be for returning veterans to assimilate back into civilian life when we spend billions and billions of dollars to accomodate illegal aliens while cutting budgets and programs for veterans.

California, and the U.S.A. in general, has it’s priorities all screwed up.

11 posted on 11/10/2011 4:48:59 AM PST by Ernie Kaputnik ((It's a mad, mad, mad world.))
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