Hiring Our Heroes helping local vets get jobs

Employers also getting help in hiring vets

BRANDON, Fla. - Ever year, 250,000 veterans leave the military. For many of them, the transition to life out of the service isn't easy, especially for injured veterans. But there's a program working to bust myths within companies as part of getting those vets get hired.

Giuseppe Balint is an Air Force veteran and holds two engineering degrees. But he admits despite all that, it's been tough to find a good job.

"It's a big and large transition to translate my background to the civilian world," Balint said.

Justin Constantine also knows those struggles personally. A Purple Heart veteran himself, he's now on a new mission with Hiring Our Heroes. He says a big part of the process to get more vets good jobs is busting myths many companies believe.

"What we try to do is show that someone like me who has gone to counseling for post-traumatic stress and has a mild traumatic brain injury can come in and do whatever you [ask] us to do," said Constantine, who leads the wounded veteran and caregiver program with Hiring Our Heroes.

To help make that connection, Hiring Our Heroes hosts events nationwide. Veterans get valuable training on writing a resume and digital tools to land a job, then one-on-one interviews. Employers also get schooled on the facts about the wounds many vets carry, and that they're really nothing to be afraid of.

"It's really just being able to see people as people, not put them in these boxes. Their issues are not always different from what our issues are. So our strengths are their strengths, and we can kind of play off of that," said Ein Sutherland, recruiting assistant with Mosaic Co.

All the employers attending Tuesday's event in Brandon have committed to hiring veterans and have positions available.

"When companies hire folks with disabilities or injuries or whatever it is, their whole company gets behind that, and the whole company feels proud that they're making that effort, that social effort, in the workplace," said Constantine.

And Giuseppe Balint is hoping what he's learned will help him land a job that allows him to continue serving and making a difference.

"We don't want to live on society, we want to better society," said Balint.

There are a few online resources that can help veterans and caregivers with employment needs. MyHOH.org is the Hiring Our Heroes page for vets, which includes online resume writing help and a virtual job scout. Social networking site LinkedIn has a dedicated site, veterans.linkedin.com, where vets can apply for a free premium membership to the site and free classes through its partner site Lynda.

For employers, there's also a resource to answer questions about hiring veterans. PsychArmor can be reached at 844-779-2427.

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