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Veterans Connected To Jobs In Apartment Industry

Aired 6/19/13 on KPBS News.

Returning veterans are being offered a leg up in the job market by the National Apartment Association Education Institute.

Apartment owners from across the nation are meeting in San Diego and reaching out to veterans looking for jobs. The National Apartment Association Education Institute reports that its members already employ 700,000 people around the country - and they want to hire thousands more.

Courtesy of Michael Mosley/©BBC 2011

Military medics outside Camp Bastion hospital receive a battlefield casualty, Afghanistan.

The booming apartment industry is one reason the association held a military job fair Wednesday.

“I’m a military spouse and a veteran and I’ve moved eight times in 12 years," said Quintin Pollard, who still works closely with the military. "So, having to relocate from East Coast to West Coast and vice versa, that can be challenging for a lot of our spouses.”

Pollard said veterans and spouses face a lot of challenges. He said they also learn quickly and know how to adapt to change, which makes them even more hire-able.

“They are resilient. They know how to adapt and overcome," Pollard said. "And they’re great problem solvers. So, I think just being part of the military family if you’re a vet, active duty or a military spouse, you have that built in yourself so you’re more productive. And you’re more of an asset to any company that wants to hire you.”

Some 15,000 veterans transition out of the service in San Diego County each year, representing about half the number across California. Maurice Wilson works with the National Veterans Transition Services. He accepted a $25,000 donation from the association. The money will be used for workshops.

"For us, it's not about helping an individual get a job. Its about helping people find their next life and changing lives and helping individuals and their families successfully reintegrate back in and become productive citizens with meaningful careers.”

Wilson said the group helps about 600 vets each year locally. It would like to work with 3,000 to 4,000.

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