Mobile store links military veterans with jobs
The Fresno Bee
Finding steady work and housing for Brandon Clark and his family have been a challenge since they returned to Fresno just over a year ago after his six-year Army stint.
Odd jobs and uncertain living accommodations have been the Clark family's reality.
On Saturday, their prospects and outlook rose during a visit to a federal mobile job store -- known as Hero 2 Hired, or H2H -- parked at the American Legion Post 509 in central Fresno. The truck unit travels around the country providing information on job openings and résumé-writing and interviewing skills.
"It's a blessing that they brought this truck here," said Crystal Clark, Brandon's wife. "It's cool that it helps not just the veterans but their spouses and their families."
The mobile unit has four computer kiosks providing information on job openings in Fresno, as well as services and programs to help veterans prepare for interviews.
"Our resources for veterans bring hope," said Pat Kuykendall, California executive director of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a U.S. Department of Defense program.
"This is a tool that brings a lot to the table in their job search," he said.
The H2H website helps veterans narrow employment searches to match their interests and skills, and market themselves, Kuykendall said. It also offers information on financial assistance programs.
On Saturday, the 40 or so people who went through the mobile unit set up H2H profiles and received information packets, allowing them to continue their job searches and access other resources from computers later.
The turnout was good, considering the Fresno stop -- one of 10 in California -- came on the first day of a long holiday weekend, Kuykendall said. The H2H unit has visited about 200 cities across the country since it started about a year ago.
American Legion post members offered space in their parking lot for the H2H unit to help veterans, especially those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, post commander Lewis Edwards said.
"I think this gives them an insight on what jobs are available," he said, "and I know some companies give veterans preference, which is great."
Clark, 27, who did two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, believes the H2H website and information he received will help him find an automotive-related or sales job to support his wife and their three young children.
"I can sell pretty much anything," he said confidently.