Programs to help veterans

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Veterans of all ages face challenges in the civilian work environment.

Older veterans, productive for many years, may still want to work but have to contend with age discrimination and jobs without health benefits.

Young veterans often must learn new skills to join the work force, and some may need jobs that accommodate injuries or disabilities, said Bill Harding, a representative with Colorado Workforce Center offices in Northwest Colorado.

At an event at the Steamboat Springs Workforce Center on Thursday, Harding will introduce training and other programs aimed at helping veterans find work.

Work force centers, operated through the Colorado Department of Labor & Employment, automatically give veterans first dibs on job openings, said Harding, who specializes in matching veterans with jobs.

Different programs accommodate veterans' various needs and situations including those with disabilities and others recently "separated" from the military.

There also is a program to help members of military reserves and the National Guard understand rights and benefits they are entitled to based on the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.

Other programs aim to help veterans who've been convicted of crimes but who served honorably in the military find jobs when released from prison.

What: Veterans Appreciation Day

When: 2 to 4 p.m. Thursday

Where: Colorado Workforce Center, 425 Anglers Drive (next to the drivers license office)

Veterans and employers will learn about programs aimed at helping veterans find jobs. Veterans do not need to be registered with the center to attend. For more information, call 879-3075.

On the 'Net For information about work-related services for veterans, go to www.coworkforce.c...

The Workforce Center ar--ranges for tax credits for employers who hire veterans who are ex-felons. The center also arranges for $5,000 or more liability bonds to back up more high-risk employees who are veterans, Harding said.

Thursday's event is a networking opportunity for em--ployers and a chance for them to learn about the advantages of hiring individuals who have served in the military, he said.

The national campaign Hire a Vet First, emphasizes veterans' leadership and teamwork skills, as well as their integrity, respect for organizational structure and procedure and ability to perform under pressure.

Currently, work force centers in Steamboat and Craig have more jobs than candidates, and Harding expects that will continue. There is particularly high demand for workers in the retail or service, trucking and construction industries, he said.

More than 1,400 veterans are registered with work force centers in the region, including active and inactive registrations.

Colorado work force centers also work with county veterans service offices and the Colorado Division of Vocational Rehab-ilitation, which helps train injured and disabled veterans in new work fields.

Work force centers also have programs educating youths about how they can start developing vocational skills in the military.


-- To reach Tamera Manzanares, call 871-4204 or e-mail tmanzanares@steamboatpilot.com

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