Transitioning into civilian life after years serving our country can be a struggle especially when looking for a new career.
Thousands of veterans find themselves in this situation, but one D.C. based company wants to provide the resources that will get veterans back on their feet. But, Veteran Central is working to help vets by providing resources to get them back on their feet.
Michael Barrett reflects on the struggles he faced as a veteran, looking for work.
“I was unemployed for two years, after getting out of the military,” said Barrett, the Director of Business Development for Veteran Central.
The husband and father of two says the impact goes beyond finances.
“It really played some psychological games with me. It made me feel like there really isn't a spot for me out in the world, the civilian world for that matter,” Barrett said.
Looking back at those experiences and emotions, Barrett now channels all of that into the Veteran Central web site—his new employer.
“I’m building relationships, partnerships and sponsorships with veteran’s services organizations across the nation right now,” Barrett said.
Site CEO and Co-Founder Jonathon Lunardi had a personal connection with military families and wanted to create a unique resource targeted for vets like Barrett.
“I was touched by all the veteran stories, that I heard, and the need that the veterans have because they're struggling a lot right now,” Lunardi said.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for veterans who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, or both, was 11.6 percent in August 2011, compared to the national unemployment rate of 8.3 percent.
“If you've been gone for four to 10 to 20 years and come home to basically a community that has somewhat kind of forgotten about you, it's difficult to make yourself marketable,” Barrett said.
But Lunardi says Veteran Central closes that gap with certain features.
“We have a resume-builder, a job board, and we have an instant chat feature and we have groups that veterans can join and have discussions around topics that are important to them,” Lunardi said.
Similar to other social networking services, users can create profiles and search for other members, while clicking on articles and podcats, but Lunardi says unlike other veteran sites, this one provides instant feedback.
“You come on there and say I need help with this and our site greeter, a real person can point you in the right direction,” Lunardi said
The next step will be for Veteran Central to go mobile with an app for smartphones—that will be released by the end of April.