JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Aerospace giant Boeing delivered a $50,000 grant for the United Service Organizations affiliate in Jacksonville.
The program, called USO Pathfinder, is helping connect veterans to jobs as they transition out of the armed forces. It's headquartered at the VyStar in Naval Air Station Jacksonville and now has the highest enrollment in the country.
Samuel Lee Torres is in the Navy and will retire in the next year. That's why he's getting counseling through the USO Pathfinder.
"The reason why I linked up with USO Pathfinder, I was really lost. Especially since I'm preparing to retire from the Navy," Torres said. "It was a bit scary."
Military members are getting no-cost coaching and training so they can leverage their skills from the service into jobs in Northeast Florida.
CONNECT: USO Pathfinder program
"I've done it since I was 17-years-old, so, really I've only known this life," Torres said. "How to fit in with regular civilians as we would call them, it's kind of awkward for me. I didn't want to be that awkward person."
Bryan Burt is retired from the Navy, and the USO Pathfinder site manager. His job is to help service members make the transition.
"We're so used to doing things the military way that we need to be able to figure out some things as we go back into the civilian world. Things like resumes," Burt said. "I was in the military for 20 years. When I got out of the military I could count on one finger how many resumes I've ever done. I could count on one finger how many interviews I've ever done."
Boeing's grant allows USO JAX to provide the Pelocity software to all of their program participants. It's an online tool that helps transitioning veterans analyze their skills to maximize their earning potential.
The Pathfinder program is also partnering with Google IT and an eight month, free training program to earn a certification to get into the information technology world.
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