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City hires first-ever military and veterans engagement coordinator

The City of San Diego wants to help local service members leaving the military find jobs with the city. They’ve hired a Navy chief to help. KPBS Military and veterans reporter Andrew Dyer has more with the city’s first veteran engagement coordinator.

A new partnership between the Wounded Warrior Project and the city of San Diego to help veterans continue their service in government jobs has launched with a first-of-its-kind job.

In March, the city hired Navy Reserve Chief Jon Aasted as its first veteran engagement coordinator. Aasted said his new role is multifaceted.

"So this is ... a very intentional way to support our veterans," Aasted said. "We want to make sure that we're actively recruiting ... from the military to the City of San Diego for employment."


But that doesn't mean he's just a recruiter, he said.

"There's some people that just have needs," he said. "(I'm) also a resource for those individuals

Aasted said one of his first goals is to bring the Pentagon's SkillBridge program to the city. The program partners private companies or government entities with local military units to allow service members to complete a sort of internship during their last six months on active duty.

He'd also like to help military spouses — who often find it difficult to maintain a career track while moving every few years — connect to more resources and jobs.

It's the first Wounded Warrior Project initiative in the country focused on a local government.


Aasted said he hopes he's able to not just bring more veterans into city jobs but also help keep them there.

For the next two years, Wounded Warrior Project will help fund Aasted's position. The city said that doesn't mean it will go away — it intends to bring the position fully into the city.