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Job Hunt Help for Ohio Veterans

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IMAGE: VETS program logo. Courtesy of OACAA
IMAGE: VETS program logo. Courtesy of OACAA
 By Mary KuhlmanContact
August 13, 2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Adjusting to life after military service is no easy task, especially for Ohio veterans facing a struggling economy.

The Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies is launching a new program to help aid low-income veterans through job education and training. Deborah Ferguson, director of outreach and social services for the Community Action Partnership of the Greater Dayton Area, says the veterans will work with case managers who have experience working with veterans or are veterans themselves.

"One of the wonderful things about this program is it's by veterans for veterans. It's designed by people who've been in the trenches and who are now wanting to be of service to their fellow military people who are struggling right now."

The case manager will help the veteran create a plan for finding meaningful employment and overcoming economic instability. The agency will then help with education, training and supportive services, such as rental or food assistance.

Veterans in the program will learn interviewing techniques, computer literacy and vocational training. Jennifer Jennette, program coordinator for the Community Action Commission of Erie, Huron and Richland Counties, says help also is available to prepare resumes that highlight the skills veterans obtained overseas.

"There's a lot of experience, but nothing that really relates to the civilian world, so we're helping translate those resumes."

Evelyn Rice, vice president for community services at the Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland, says the community has embraced the program, and continued coordinated efforts will make it even stronger.

"These are our heroes and they've served us bravely, and we owe them every debt of gratitude that we can afford to give them. So we want to do our best with this program."

The program is being offered in six areas, including Cleveland, Dayton and Mansfield, and the hope is to expand it throughout the state.

There are more than 900,000 veterans in Ohio, and many more are returning.

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