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Hiring Heroes

Published: Fri, November 11, 2011 @ 12:01 a.m.

More than 1 in 5 vets can't find work

RELATED: • Senate OKs jobs benefits to aid military

• Austintown sixth-graders salute veterans’ service

• Students honor soldiers


By Ashley Luthern



When troops return home, a still-sputtering economy and stigma attached to service are only a few of the challenges facing them during a job search.

“When I got out, the general population was very confused about what skills veterans had,” said Boardman Patrolman Paul Poulos, 31, who served two war tours in Iraq from 2004 to 2007 as an Army staff sergeant.

He said people still seemed to have a mental picture of troops “running from trench to trench with bayonets.”

“In infantry, you do dispatch radio, communicate with aircraft and thermal imaging. You’re the jack-of-all-trades,” he said.

Those skills are valuable and should make veterans more desirable employees, but the unemployment rate for veterans age 18 to 24 is 22 percent, said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

“Literally, more than one in five young vets can’t find a job,” said Brown, who along with 22 other senators introduced the “Hiring Heroes Act.”

The measure was approved 95-0 in the Senate on Thursday, less than 24 hours before the nation celebrates Veterans Day. The law would establish mentor programs, increased job-training opportunities and incentives — up to thousands of dollars — to companies that hire veterans. The House is expected to vote on it next week.

“We know that veterans have developed so many skills that’s why ... they are ideally placed to be able to contribute to the economy and our nation,” Brown said. “It’s a veterans bill; it’s a job bill.”

Nathan Davis, director of Xavier University’s Veterans Affairs Office, said he encountered a few barriers during his job search when he returned from serving in Iraq.

“... I’ve witnessed the stigma that is attached to [post-traumatic stress disorder] and people think you’re crazy,” Davis said. “But PTSD could be a number of things, like hyper-sensitivity. ... It gives employers a bad perception.”

Davis said he wholeheartedly supports the legislation.

Another barrier for veterans can be unfamiliarity with how to do a job search, said Benjamin Johnson, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

“Often we find that it’s less about an employer not wanting to hire a veteran, but really it’s the fact if you’ve been in the military for your entire professional life, you’ve never had to do civilian job search,” he said.

“You may not know how to describe your skills, you may not know just simple do’s and don’ts like sending a follow-up letter,” he continued.

Every One-Stop employment center — and there’s at least one One-Stop in each of Ohio’s counties — has a veteran service staff member, Johnson said.

Poulos, a graduate of West Branch High School, said he always knew he wanted to serve in the military and then go into law enforcement. The Mahoning County One Stop eased his transition by helping him find funding for law-enforcement training, he added.

Poulos said he was lucky to be able to take the civil-service exam while home on leave. He was sworn in as a Boardman police officer in May 2009 and said skills he learned in the Army translate well to his job now.

“The communication skills are No. 1,” he said. “... I went from being a young soldier to having to make a team out of guys from all over the country, sometimes the world. You have no choice but to work together.”

Boardman has about a dozen veterans on the force, including two who were sworn in this year. One of them is Patrolman David Sheely.

Sheely, 23, of Newton Falls, served in the Army National Guard in military police and left for a yearlong deployment in 2007.

“Being in the military, you’re put in a lot of different situations, stressful situations, and you learn how to handle it,” he said.

Sheely said the “whole experience” in military law enforcement applies to his work in Boardman and that he has “a passion for serving and helping people.”

Veterans looking for a job can get assistance at their local One-Stop or online at http://my.ohiomeansjobs.monster.com/VetCenter/Home.aspx.


1whitesabbath(738 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Welcome home all VETS !!!!!

And those who did not make it


Happy Veterans Day.

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2Superstar7(122 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Mr. Brown & Hagen,
You still refuse to accept the fact-
these young men WERE employed.
During the failed economic policies of The Democrats, these boys remained employed full-time, with benefits, educational grants, food & board.
Bringing them home during the (Democrat generated) economic crisis will insure their unemployment.

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3db(280 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Veterans have learned discipline and teamwork; two skills vital in any workforce. I'll hire a vet over an ivy league college boy every time. Welcome home fellas.

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4UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Guess what, 20% of the US population can't find work. Welcome home - you are heros. This is the American economy today. You can blame the politicians who sent you to war for this mess.

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5Woodley(26 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

I don't usually say things like I am about to say, but I am tired of these uneducated, backward, anti-Democratic idiots always blaming the countries' economic problems on one Party. The wars were started under both Bush administrations. Wall Street, the banks, corporations were bailed out because they wasted our monies under Republican administrations. The House, where the majority are Tea Party and Republicans, have shot down every bill that could add jobs because they are in the pocket of the rich who were bailed out under Obama and they have the Social Darwinism and racist attitude. How dare a Black man, who is half White, run OUR country. The soldiers had no business having to fight these wars in the first place so that companies such as the one Dick Chaney basically runs can get rich while our soldiers die, get mained for life and then gome back to no jobs. I am not originally from Youngstown, but I can see why the city and surrounding area is so poor. Idiots, racists and just plumb FOOLS dominate this area. Get off your buttocks and attend Y.S.U. and take an American Government class with a person like Dr. Lepak or Dr. Benning before you open your stupid mouths. We want to help the veterans, not blame the ones' who are trying to help.

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6timOthy(802 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Excellent idea , but an old one ! During War 2 after the war the soldiers came first and the civilians got work after them. I see where they could be used in incarceration of criminals, and Cops to patrol and keep order. Which most of them haven't served. But do have Mason Cult contacts to get work. They soldiers will see in due time how this works. Hire a vet and fire the Masons ! Put America back were it belongs !!! First !

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7author50(1121 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

One would think that Vets with all their training in what public unions call 'first responders' that the police, medic and firefighter unions would make concessions to see that the REAL first responders are hired upon coming home.

My son has been in Iraq, is on call at any moment for the the next war that is coming in the middle east, I have seen lots of young men from this area come and go and they deserve better when their tours of duty are up.

Happy Veterans Day!

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8db(280 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Woodley, you sound just like the arrogant liberal college boys who spit on us when we returned from Vietnam in 1969. If you put away your communist manifesto and pulled your head out of your ass, you might actually see reality. Obama & his democratic socialists (aka progressives) are more corrupt than any prior administration and while destroying our economy, are selling this country to the Arabs & Chinese. Your precious YSU professors are clueless and care only about their pay & union benefit package. Wake up before it's too late and America is gone.

Happy Veteran's Day and again, welcome home fellas.

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9pac1234(21 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Every military veteran I have had the pleasure to work along side with has been outstanding in the performance of thier assigned task, courteous and professional. Thank you to all Veterans and have a great day.

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10grand4dad(218 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

To all our veterans and their families and all those presently serving and their families, THANK YOU for your service to our country. God bless.

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11VindyPost(436 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

11 / 11/ 11.

Gratitude and Appreciation to Our Soldiers & Heroes!

This Veteran's Day, we honor those who have so bravely served this great country.

Let's take a sacred moment to remember those who sacrifice their lives every moment to achieve peace and democracy.

Let's pay our respects not just to the soldiers who died for our country, but also to the soldiers of the world who did and do their job courageously.

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