INDIANAPOLIS — Returning home from war is difficult for Hoosier veterans. It carries a psychologic and financial punch. This is especially true when it comes to finding a civilian job, however, a group of local vets is working to solve that problem.
“Think about the number of people who joined the military at 18. They have only had one job since high school,” detailed INvets executive director Wes Wood. “Now they are looking down a job board with 100,000 jobs trying to decipher what they would be good at. What career opportunities?”
Wood spent five years in the military. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2012 and led sniper teams for the final two years of his military career. INvets is made of up former military men and women like Wood who are now helping their colleagues in arms find meaningful employment.
INvets says almost half of the transitionary military population does not stay near the military base they were at, nor do they return home. Often they settle down in a new state with little to no support system. INvets works to get their resumes in front of employers and to explain to them how their military service translates to a civilian job.
Brian Evans is the manager of external affairs for INvets. He spent his time in the Marines doing ceremonial services at Arlington Cemetery and carrying fallen Marines off of planes at Dover Airforce Base.
“When there’s a funeral at Arlington, there is always a 21 gun salute. Your whole focus there is dignity, honor, respect. It takes a lot of training, a lot of hours to get those shots perfect,” remembered Evans. “It was emotional. [I remember there] was a young Marine, with a young wife, and you could hear her crying on the side.”
Once he got out of the military, he too struggled to figure out where to go next.
“I had no network, no idea what I wanted to do. [I was] hunting for jobs left and right,” detailed Evans.“I think the biggest thing is to find something else that gives you that same sense of serving a bigger purpose. My job is to go around the state, talk to businesses who are interested in hiring veterans, and getting them up on our website. There are a lot of military jobs that are easily translated to civilian jobs found here. It’s just a matter of getting their resume to show that.”
If you are a Hoosier veteran struggling to find work, getting started with INvets is simple. You can find a link to their registration here.