(WJLA) - These 17 veterans say it's been hard to find a job since getting out of the service.
"I figured, hey - everybody wants to hire veterans. But nobody did," veteran Daniel Griffith told ABC7. "Nope, sorry."
"I've put hundreds of applications in," said veteran George Kovach Jr. "Denial letter after denial letter."
The reality has been an unwelcome surprise for many.
"I've felt abandoned by the people who said they were going to help," said Kovach.
Retired Vice Admiral Joe Kernan says companies might shy away from hiring combat-ready veterans, despite many attributes. He said the challenge is often figuring out how to transition those skills to the civilian workforce.
"They're disciplined, they're responsible, they like to be leaders and they work hard," Kernan explained. "They understand the importance of teamwork."
Global software company SAP National Security Services recently launched a nonprofit to help veterans do just that, called "NS2 Serves."
"We do know unemployment rates for veterans ages 25 to 34 is substantially higher than the general population," said Mark Testoni, president of SAP National Security Services. "We're helping them create a skill set that makes them more marketable."
NS2 Serves does that by offering a 10-week program where veterans learn IT and business skills - and become certified SAP associates.
They also learn how to write resumes and give interviews.
"My overall goal is to complete the program and come out on the top of the class and move into something with the federal government," said veteran Samuel Southall, who is completing the program.
All expenses are covered, including training, room and board - which comes to a whopping $50,000 per person.
The veterans taking part so far say, every penny is put to worthwhile use.
"This program puts you on front street, I like to say - it makes you realize what you're capable of, builds confidence in you," said veteran Darnell Broadnax.
The leaders say the program's future relies on the success of this first class, which graduates in May.
"We fail unless every single graduate of our program is employed," said Kernan.
NS2 Serves is holding an open house for potential employers to meet the class this Wednesday.
A second class, which will also be open to military spouses, will start in the fall.
Learn more about NS2 Serves at http://ns2serves.org/.