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Veterans find help in job hunting

For military veterans entering the civilian workforce the challenge of translating military experience into corporate skills can be daunting.

The “Hire a Veteran” Job Fair in Mount Vernon on June 1 may make the task of finding a civilian job less difficult.

“Vets take for granted a lot of things they do,” said Robert Scott, veteran advisor for state-funded WorkSource Whidbey. Scott believes the real challenge is identifying the skills acquired in military occupations and applying them to civilian tasks.

Woksource Whidbey makes resources available to all island residents who need assistance in their job search at no cost to the job seeker. Veterans make up over 35 percent of their clientele with 1,157 veterans having used WorkSource to look for a job last year.

“I can’t lie,” said Renee Tisdale, a veteran who recently retired from the Navy. She found the task of finding a civilian job to be overwhelming before using WorkSource resources. “It’s frightening,” she said.

“They’ve been very helpful,” Tisdale said of the veteran’s assistance at WorkSource. “More than I ever expected.”

With an 80 to 85 percent success rate, the help has its rewards.

“Resume writing is crucial,” said Scott. “We need to package the veteran up to where they’re appealing to employers.” This sometimes means extracting the corporate education out of combat experience.

One example is that most aircraft radar technicians in the military with their knowledge of computerized radar systems and electronics are well qualified to operate and repair doppler weather radar for television stations and universities.

Other military experience is not as clear to define in its civilian applications. A veteran might need help applying clerical experience from years spent as a supply clerk to a civilian job.

Resume writing, aptitude testing, access to the Internet and interview skills coaching all culminate in the “re-packaging” process at WorkSource Whidbey.

“We provide a lot of different avenues to help find jobs,” said Scott.

One of those avenues is the Job Fair June 1 in Mount Vernon, sponsored by Skagit County’s WorkSource. Area employers in need of good workers will be on hand anxious to meet job-seekers with military experience.

Veterans seeking help in the job search or benefit application process should visit the WorkSource Whidbey office at 31975 SR 20, Oak Harbor, or contact Robert Scott at 675-5966.

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