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Service Impact Award Winner: Heather Hays

by Greg Tucker

During the next few weeks, we will be profiling the winners of the 2012 Service Impact Awards. Look for their stories and videos here on the blog.

Recently discharged veterans shouldn't have to struggle to find work when they return home from service, but they often do. AmeriCorps VISTA Heather Hays is helping vets make the most of a program that lets them serve their country in a new way while placing them on a pathway to permanent employment.

The California Conservation Corps (CCC), a program to preserve natural resources and provide emergency response services, in partnership with the United States Forest Service, runs the Veterans Green Corps (VGC) as a way to help former military members make the transition to civilian work. The program places vets in an instructional work environment, and connects them with support services and career development resources.

Hays gets involved with veterans even before they enter the VGC as she sits in on recruitment sessions to assess their individual needs. She then follows the vets throughout their term to determine career goals, perfect resumes and cover letters, and navigate the application and interview process as they prepare to leave the VGC.

In the time Hays has worked with veterans, she has seen one promoted to crew leader at the CCC, three work through the hiring process with the U.S. Forest Service, and 15 land civilian jobs at the California State Parks, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Heather Hays was selected as one of the winners in the Veterans and Military Familes category in the 2012 National Service Impact Awards.

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