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Program to help veterans find jobs
Army veteran Chris Borger knows it can be tough readjusting to civilian life, but even tougher is the task of finding employment after returning from service overseas.

It took 25-year-old Borger, a former scout and sniper shooter, months to find consistent employment after returning home from his second tour in Iraq. Job applications are taken online for many employers, and it was difficult for Borger to show an employer what he has to offer.

But it's not just paying the bills, it's also about leaving military life behind and returning to a sense of normalcy.

"It's not just finding the job but trying to be a civilian," Borger said. "That's actually the biggest thing of all."

Now Borger is employed at Red Lobster as a server, but still hopes to find a long-term position that will use the skills he gained in the military. He's considering pursuing a job as a police officer or at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.

As a National Guard recruiter, Kyle Mbiad has watched returning servicemen and women struggle to transition their military skills into civilian employment.

"I think the biggest challenge is so many soldiers are so geared into doing the military thing, and they don't know how to apply those skill sets to civilian life," Mbiad said. "They just think automatically that (military service) is going to help out, but they have to know how to word it in a resume."

The Georgia Department of Labor may soon be able to help returning veterans find jobs.

With a $750,000 federal grant, the department is looking to provide job assistance to veterans who have recently separated from the military and are at high risk for long-term unemployment.

The program will first be instituted in metro areas and then will make its way down to smaller communities.

The initiative won't immediately be put into place in Glynn County but will be expanded as it finds success in larger areas.

"One of the things that we have built into this grant is the ability to replicate and sustain. I think that is one of the things that is a hallmark of this grant," said Bill Downer, a veterans representative with the Georgia Department of Labor.

Downer thinks Georgia's veterans could use the help.

"Within the next few years between 60,000 to 70,000 soldiers are going to be exiting, and most of them are going to make Georgia their state of residence," Downer said.

Georgia is one of four states to receive the federal grant.

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