Carlsbad mentoring program Boots in Business helps veterans choose career path

SAN DIEGO - More than 20,000 leave military service in San Diego every year, and many have a difficult time translating what they did in uniform to a civilian career. That's where Boots in Business intervenes.

"We don't do internships. We don't do job fairs. What we do is mentoring and job shadowing," said Ted Owen, the president and CEO of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce and a retired Marine. "We have about 120 companies who are not required to offer a job but show the veteran the ropes about their chosen career."

Cpl. Eric Wilcox will get out of the Marine Corps in a couple of months. He is currently shadowing the bio-medical technicians at Scripps Mercy Hospital.

"This has been really valuable," Wilcox said. "Everyone here has been helpful to me about this kind of career."

The program, now in its second year, is already proving itself.

"Of the 105 we had go through the program last year, 60 percent are employed. The rest, 37 percent, are in college," Owen said.

While employers are not required to hire veterans, in the program, many do.

"We look for people who have that critical thought and thinking they've had to do in the service because we know that experience is invaluable here at Scripps to care for our patients," said Joelle Cook, who is with Scripps Health.

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