Currently, the unemployment rate for veterans is 11.7 percent, significantly higher than the overall national unemployment rate of 9.4 percent.
"It has been pretty tough," says Carlos Penaloza, a veteran of the Army National Guard. "I've applied to maybe 20 different places and I haven't been able to find much."
In an effort to help, the American Legion of Colorado held a veterans employment fair in conjunction with their mid-year conference. A dozen employers attended and interviewed veterans searching for work.
One agency in attendance offers more than job openings. They provide the training to help veterans transition to the civilian workforce.
"They have so many skills. What we're doing is helping them translate those skills from what it was like in the military to a resume that resonates with employers," says Jo Schantz, senior director of communication for Veterans Green Jobs.
Created in 2008, Veterans Green Jobs is a non-profit that operates nationally, but is based in Denver. They train veterans in a variety of skills ranging from weatherizing homes to water and forest conservation.
"Our veterans go into income eligible households and provide free weatherization services for low income families. They do everything from blowing in insulation to repairing and replacing furnaces to new refrigerators. It is really a valuable service," says Schantz.
It is valuable to the income eligible households and invaluable to the veterans. They gain a skill that makes them more marketable in the workforce.
"There are tons of good qualities veterans have," says Garett Reppenhagen, director of veterans development for Veterans Green Jobs. "They have a work ethic, a great set of values, the ability to work in a dangerous environment, diverse environment with diverse people and that sense of service and dedication that you often times don't find in the civilian employee. Once organizations really start hiring veterans they really start to realize what an asset they are to their company."
In the last two years, Veterans Green Jobs has helped more than 500 veterans secure jobs.
For more information about Veterans Green Jobs, go to their website at: www.veteransgreenjobs.org.
(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)