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Need Skilled Workers? Employ a Veteran

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FAYETTEVILLE — Employers say it's hard to find good help. Veterans have the work ethic companies are searching for. Now the push is on to help more of them get work once they're out of the service.

In North Carolina, more than 20,000 soldiers leave the military every year. They leave looking for new jobs. Now, the Employment Security Commission is trying to let employers know the benefits of adding these trained men and women to their workforce.

Allan Bass has hired veterans at his family-owned air conditioning business for years. He estimates veterans make up 20 percent of his workforce.

"The number one quality is discipline," says Bass. "They've had the training to come to work with a mission. It's the same in the civilian field. They come in, we give them the task and they have the drive and initiative to tackle it."

The Employment Security Commission would like other businesses to take notice. They have designated this week, "Employ A Vet Week."

"They're so critical to our society and our way of life," says veterans' representative Edith Edmond. "It's important to stop and say, 'What's happened to those people after they've dedicated their lives taking care of our country?'"

Statewide, more than 75,000 veterans have sought services at ESC offices. People like 42-year-old Freddie Byrd, who says his military background can work to an employer's advantage.

"My communication skills, being able to adjust to changes," Byrd says.

ESC helped 30,000 veterans finds job last year. But there are still many looking for work. Business owner Allan Bass, who has been recognized for his commitment to hiring veterans, advises other employers to take a closer look. He says, 'They're missing a good opportunity if they don't."

The ESC has begun a new pilot program with three other states. They are trying to identify specific skills of recently discharged veterans and place them in manufacturing jobs.

Because of their education and technical experience in the military, the veterans are eligible for positions that are higher than entry-level.


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