HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – When members of the U.S. military return to civilian life, it can be difficult to find employment. A nonprofit in Huntsville is tackling this problem by connecting veterans with businesses.
Every veteran has a different story, including John Cofield and Matt Clark.
“I joined the US Army in 1976,” Cofield said. “I served seven years as an Airborne Ranger at Fort Lewis. Most with the Second Ranger Battalion.
“I enlisted when I was 18 as an infantryman in the Marines and spent four years doing it,” Clark said. “Infantry aggressor with the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines stationed in Kaneohe, Hawaii.”
The most difficult task for Clark and Cofield after leaving the military was to find a job.
Cofield returned to civilian life in 1983.
“At that time there was no service for veterans and it was pretty much the post-Vietnam era and veterans were sort of looked down upon and frowned upon,” he said. “People didn’t want to hire someone who was a veteran, especially in combat arms, because they were worried that we were crazy or something like that.
Although it’s a different time now, it can still be difficult for some vets to find work.
When Clark returned to civilian life, he returned to school and attended the University of Alabama in Huntsville where he earned two degrees: one in political science and one in history.
“In Huntsville, with no experience, it is extremely difficult to go through that CV phase to interview many companies for entry-level positions,” he said.
Clark and Cofield credits Always at the service of veterans helping them find their current jobs at EOS Defense Systems. SSV works closely with businesses in the area to help vets get hired.
1/3 of EOS Defense Systems employees are veterans and are genuinely looking for a job. They know the value and the value that a veteran can bring.
Cofield said the process of applying for and securing the job went smoothly. “From the day I was interviewed to the day I got hired, it probably took four to five days. “
“The people at SSV really helped me with networking, knowing who was looking for talent and who I would work well with,” said Clark.
The transition from serving our country to serving in the workforce is made easier for those who answer the call, with the help of groups like Still Serving Veterans.
On their website, SSV says, “We’re here to help Veterans and their families find meaningful employment, access their VA benefits, and connect to the resources they need to build the civilian life they love. We serve veterans, military service members in transition, members of the National Guard and Reserve, and military spouses free of charge. “
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