Home from Afghanistan, Guard members looking for work
Specialist Bradley Glover
Burlington, Vermont - January 19, 2011
At 20 years old, Specialist Bradley Glover has already experienced life inside a war zone.
"I think it's matured me a lot, gave me a lot of discipline."
Discipline gained from a year in Afghanistan with the Vermont National Guard's 86th brigade. An experience interrupted by the death of his father and a challenging homecoming.
"It was hard," said Glover, "My father wasn't there and then on January 1st my house burned down. I lost everything."
While in Afghanistan, he was a calvary scout. But back at home in Newport, Glover's had to start over.
"I've been looking for a state job or a federal job. But lately it's been any job."
And he is not alone. Last week the head of the Vermont National Guard informed lawmakers that a large number of soldiers would be without a job at the end of their deployment.
"We're thinking around 30 percent are unemployed," said Gen. Michael Dubie, Vt. National Guard.
"When a service member gets off the plane, if I'm on active duty, pretty much I'm squared away. I've got a job, I've got my housing and the whole bit. But when a guard member steps off the plane that may not be the case," said Lt. Col. Marc Goudreau, Vt. National Guard Family Programs Director.
Under federal law, employers are required rehire all returning military members after their deployment. But there are a few exceptions.
"The one protection that we cannot provide by way of federal law is if a business has gone out of business or if they have done layoffs or eliminated positions," said Dave Wheel, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve director.
Or in Glover's case, the guard cannot protect service members who didn't have a job before deploying. But it can get the word out that these men and women are looking. It's formed partnerships with the Department of Labor, community colleges and private organizations.
"What we're trying to do is ratchet up the interest and really put the spotlight on veterans," said Wheel.
"They know honor, duty and truth," said Carl Blum, Tip of the Arrow Foundation.
He's a job coach who helps veterans sell themselves to civilian employers.
"A combat solider, which most people think has no skills, makes more decisions in 30 seconds than a civilian will in their entire life."
And Glover is hoping that his experience and perseverance will eventually catch the eye of the Vermont State Police.
"But seeing as I'm 20, they won't accept me until I turn 21, which isn't very long, thank God."
In the meantime, Glover says he's grateful for all the help he's received from the guard and the community in his search for a new home.
The guard and its partner organizations will host two more job skills workshops this month in Rutland and Lebanon. Job fairs begin in February.
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