Military pushes to help troops find jobs before they retire
San Antonio —
There's a big push in the military to help troops find jobs before they've retired from service. Homelessness, drug addiction -- many of those issues can happen when veterans can't find work. Delaine Mathieu heard about a new campaign to help service members plan for civilian life -- way before they're military life is over.
Cedric Brown spent 20 years saving Marines on the battle field as a medic in the Navy. "Well the transition process for me was a little rough," he said. "I was actually chasing the rank of chief petty officer." He spent much of that time trying to climb the ladder and, before he knew it, his time in the Navy was up. "I pushed all the way to the end," he explained. "So when it got time to start the transition process, for me, I was like literally about six months. And that, technically, is too late." He found himself in the civilian world without a job and money. "I was on unemployment at the time and unemployment was running out," he said. "I really thought this incredible resume that I had 20 years of service in two combat tours was going to be something that employees were going to pick up right away. The reality of it that is - that I wasn't."
"They don't know what to expect in the private sector simply because they haven't been in it." Angenetta Lambert is the program manager for "Onward 2 Opportunity." She helps troops begin the transition process so they have jobs lined up before they get out. "It doesn't matter if your an infantryman or a corpsman all the way to a three-star general," she said. "We are here to help you."
Her team helped Tom Nagley manage his transition plan into Cyber Security. "I have about four months left before I make my transition," he said. "Right now, I just completed the first of three modules of training. I'm receiving the g-sect security fundamental certification."
And, now, Cedric works for the USO and helps other troops, too. "We can't stay there forever," he said. "So, I say this: you start early, start often and have the hard conversation that you need to with your chain of command to allow you the opportunity, without fear of retribution, to get your stuff done for you and your family. It's important"
At the end of the month the "Onward 2 Opportunity" and the USO plan to release a public service announcement aimed at troops. The message: the time to start looking for a job, is now.