Group helps vets find jobs
Posted at: 09/20/2012 6:15 PM
| Updated at: 09/20/2012 7:12 PM
By: Eddie Garcia, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Iraq veteran Army Spc. Paul Black is trailblazing a new life-path after a tough few years.
"Since we came back from our deployment in December 2010 I've been looking for a direction or career, some way to go and I've been having a hard time finding that," Black said.
A few months ago, Black met the Southwest Conservation Corps. The Corps is training and certifying veterans with help from the U.S. Forest Service. The group trained Thursday clearing fire fuels in the Sandia Mountains.
Corps instructor Kris Kowalski is one of the team leaders. His team is training throughout the southwest focusing on states in the four corners. Once the program is complete, the trained veterans can apply for jobs anywhere - including the U.S. Forest Service.
Kowalski said the training will give the veterans an advantage over other applicants.
"You can go so many directions with the training we're receiving here," Black said.
But Black said this kind of work isn't easy, and, in fact, it's downright hard, but he said that's just the thing returning veterans want and need.
"Transitioning from the military to this is real easy for most of us because it's kind of the same lifestyle," Black said.
He said it's good building a new life among fellow veterans. Kowalski said even though he's the instructor, he's learning from American heroes like Black.
"I mean they fought for our country so being able to hang out with them and learn from them and just being here with them - and helping them learn as well too, it just feels really good," Kowalski said.
The U.S. Forest Service said the Corps and others are helping veterans get prepared to apply for jobs in the agency, meanwhile, the program is helping make places like the Sandia Mountains safer from fire.