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Vets Helping Vets: Tackling Veteran Unemployment Through Service

by Kate Enos

Todd Schnittke proudly served his country during the Gulf War as a Multiple Launch Rocket System Technician from 1989-1993. Yet, he had a will to continue his service to the United States that never disappeared. Now, he proudly serves under another title – AmeriCorps member at the AMVETs Career Center in Mansfield, Ohio.

The unemployment rate for veterans in Ohio lingers around 16% -- higher than the national average. Veterans, young and old, are looking to AmeriCorps members like Schnittke and organizations like AMVETs gain access to crucial access to job resources and employment opportunities.

Schnittke, 40, represents one of 20 AmeriCorps members who currently serve with AMVETS Career Centers across the state. AmeriCorps members with AMVETs in Ohio have successfully provided assistance to more than 1,000 veterans and helped approximately 200 veterans secure employment in fields such as healthcare and transportation.

AmeriCorps provided a necessary change in direction for Schnittke. After a stint as a security officer in a correctional facility, he headed back to school at North Central State College. It was there that he learned about AmeriCorps. For a veteran with service in his blood, the opportunity to help fellow veterans was too great to pass up.

In Mansfield and the surrounding region, Schnittke has helped more than 80 veterans with career services, including job training, resume workshops, mock interviews, and access to employment opportunities.

One of Schnittke's greatest success stories involves a National Guardsman who is a single father of two boys and was on the verge of losing his home. With the help of Schnittke's network of employers, the Guardsman was able to secure employment for the veteran at a local furniture store and help him avoid foreclosure.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is committed to serving veterans – both through supporting efforts that aide them and by engaging veterans in national service programs like AmeriCorps. Supporting our nation's troops, veterans, and military families is critical to strengthening our communities.

CNCS believes that veterans are valuable assets to their communities, and that volunteers and national service can help recent veterans transition back to civilian life. By tapping the talent and leadership of veterans, CNCS enlists a group of Americans with the skills, experience and knowledge to solve problems at home.

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