Study shows San Diego County unprepared to hire influx of new military veterans

SAN DIEGO - A new study shows a huge influx of new military veterans headed for San Diego, but officials say the county is not prepared to hire them.

Cliff Davies worked as a specialized aviation engineer, fixing aircrafts for combat, during his military service. Suddenly, after two tours and five years in the Marine Corps, he found himself out.

"I had no idea what to do as a new civilian just separating from the Marines; I had no idea what a resume should look like or how to put one together," Davies said.

A new study from the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce shows Davies is not alone, as San Diego has the highest concentration of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan in the U.S. The study notes 29,000 military veterans already live in the county and that number is expected to grow. In general, veterans in San Diego County are younger, better educated and make more money when employed.

Jack Harkins, chairman of the United Veterans Council of San Diego County, said, "San Diego as a society is not where it needs to be to make this the success we all intend it to be."

Harkins agreed with the findings that veterans are often behind in their real-world job experience and that many businesses are biased.

Harkins worries "that they (veterans) may bring with them stresses that they experienced, but he feels it's a misperception because he said most veterans come home ready to work.

"It's on you to make your future what you want it to be," said Davies, who just graduated from college with a degree in civil engineering. "I've had three job interviews in this last week."

Davies is now the proud owner of a solid resume, saying, "It feels great."

The report says even small businesses should get ready to hire more veterans soon. Business owners are being urged to get familiar with state and federal tax breaks that encourage them to hire veterans as well as attend veteran job fairs.

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