Governor Deal Thursday announced several new programs to help Georgia’s returning veterans find jobs. An estimated 80 thousand new vets will enter the state’s workforce by 2016.
Tricia Pridemore, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development, says one of the new programs is called Troops to Trucks. It helps veterans turn their military truck driving experience into a commercial trucking license.
“And we’re doing it by extending some extra hours at the Department of Driver Services facility that’s near Fort Benning. And we’re also going to pick up the licensure fees and the registration fees for it as well.” she says.
Jared Maclin of Atlanta is a veteran who wants to renew his commercial trucking license.
He says he's excited about the opportunities. “And they’ll try to get me in school and they’ll pay for it. Once I have the license in my hand, I wouldn’t be sitting here. Because I’ve been doing it since ’93. And I have never looked for a job. I could just pick up the newspaper on Sunday and be working on Tuesday.”
The state also launched Operation Workforce, which will serve as an online one-stop resource for job seeking veterans and employers looking to hire.
The website will host job listings from companies across Georgia looking to hire veterans. Pridemore says veterans can also post their resumes, and get help making those resumes more attractive to civilian employers.
“There’s also a tool in there that will automatically convert the veteran’s experience while they’re in the military to the civilian job force. That is one of the greatest challenges that veterans have when they go to try to apply for a job.” she says/
At a job fair for veterans and their families in Atlanta, veteran Steven Williams said his military background has not helped him get job interviews.
“With the economy like it is, it’s very competitive, so there’s really no difference in that.” he said.
The state also kicked off the “Hire a Georgia Veteran” campaign. Employers sign a pledge to commit to giving enhanced hiring opportunities to veterans.