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New technologies open job opportunities for injured veterans

WASHINGTON -- When Pfizer was considering sending some administrative jobs overseas, Merry Korn convinced them to outsource them to wounded veterans instead.

Korn, owner of Pearl Interactive Network, said she currently has four homebound, injured veterans working as administrative assistants for the pharmaceutical company, handling scheduling and office management for corporate officials from hundreds of miles away. The feedback so far has been so good the company has approached her about finding more veterans to work as remote employees.

Korn said technology has advanced so dramatically in recent years that jobs one thought closed off to severely disabled individuals can now be done off-site without aggravating the veterans’ limitations.

“The veterans we’re dealing with, if they can’t work from home then they can’t work,” she said. Some have injuries to limbs or to eyes that make travel difficult. Others have post-traumatic stress disorder or similar challenges that make working in an office unbearable.

PIN has about 40 disabled veterans working from home now, a small subset of the company’s contracted workforce. The work includes call center and human resources tasks, and flexible hours depending on the company.

“It’s still a business,” she said. “They expect to get people who will excel, people who are highly motivated and can deal with complicated interactions.

“But companies want to hire these veterans. They know there are skilled and talented disabled veterans out there.”

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