News 12 First at Five/ July 30, 2014
AUGUSTA, Ga.--As troops pull out of Afghanistan, thousands of military members who have served our country are coming home to a tough job market. Right now, the unemployment rate for veterans is much higher than the national average. The national unemployment rate is 5.9%, but the veteran unemployment rate is much higher at 7.5% A new local program is teaming up with ADP to try to change that.
David Hubbard is in the program. He says," I was in the Air Force for 6 years. I wanted to make a career in the Air Force, but once my first enlistment was up, I didn't want to do that anymore. So, I decided to branch out in the civilian market."
In the Air Force, Hubbard was a trained computer specialist. He says, "Anything that had a computer in it, I fixed it. Turning a wrench, setting up server racks, all that good stuff. "
But, finding a computer job on the outside wasn't as easy as he expected. He says, "It didn't work out so well. I ended up kind of wasting my talent so to speak working retail jobs and what not trying to get into places."
He says the military mindset makes the corporate landscape a tough one to navigate on your own.
"We in the military, we don't have a civilian world mindset. We don't have that corporate mentality that a lot of people who start off in a civilian field have," he says.
An organization called Workforce Opportunity Services is trying to help with that. Danny Black is the Program Manager for WOS. He says, "We look to help out as many people as we possibly can who are underserved in corporate America."
WOS has branched out to Augusta for the first time, with the help of ADP, looking for veterans who need new careers.
Hubbard says, "I heard from a Ft. Gordon billboard that said, there's this thing coming up, and you could get to work for ADP if you get through it, and I said, that sounds great, let me try it out!"
He made it through the recruitment phase, and for the past 10 months, he and seven other veterans have gotten training courtesy of Georgia Tech's Professional Education program. They've also gotten training on how to thrive in the corporate world.
"I'm able to make the best of an opportunity that was given to me that wouldn't have been afforded to me had I been out on my own," Hubbard says.
Those first eight veterans in the program graduate Wednesday and work towards beginning their career with ADP. WOS says they've had a lot of success with this first Augusta program, so they're lookign forward to helping many more veterans in the future. If you want to know how to get involved, click here or contact Danny Black at email@example.com