CLEARWATER, Fla. - The desert horizon is endless in Lt. Col. Basil Piazza's pictures of deployment in the Middle East.
Retired just two weeks, he's already applied for numerous civilian jobs, but quickly realized, even after 29 years of specialized military work, he's starting over.
Now, the endless horizon of sand has turned to one filled with uncertainty.
"It's hard to get used to not being a soldier and not being part of the team," Piazza said. "I'm Basil Piazza. I'm a soldier. B ut now I've got to say something else. I'm not a soldier. I've got to sell myself as something else."
Some estimates show the unemployment rate for veterans is about 12%. That's almost 4% higher than the national average.
Lee Savage started the AIM For Jobs-4-Veterans program this year. Last month, five Tampa Bay area veterans found jobs.
"We owe it to them because they're facing a job market that's just unbelievable," Savage said. "They're leaving an environment where they've been told what to do every minute of the day and they're entering an environment that's very tough."
AIM For Jobs-4-Veterans brings in guest speakers, business owners seeking to hire, and offers workshops on job skills like networking and resume building.
The class meets every Thursday at Heritage Church in Clearwater from 10:00 a.m. to noon.
Civilians can sponsor a veteran for $25.
For more information, visit AIM For Jobs-4-Veterans at http://www.yourcareeralternatives.com/Job_Search_Workbook.html or call 727-784-5505.
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