Workshop for Warriors program aims to help young military veterans develop skills

SAN DIEGO - A program called Workshop for Warriors is helping young military veterans find employment by through vocational training.

Workshop for Warriors is literally across the street from Naval Base San Diego, and many who plan to leave the military are clamoring to get in.

"We have 550 on a waitlist because we have some 2,500 jobs waiting within a five-mile radius of the school," said Hernan Luis y Prado, a former Navy corpsman and lieutenant who opened the workshop in San Diego in 2011 after starting it in his garage.

"The frustrating part is that those who take the 16-week course for their certification can't use their G.I. Bill benefits for it," Prado added.

That is something Prado hopes to change, but it's a long process to do that. The course is free to veterans, but his cost is over $60,000 a month in supplies and equipment.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported this week that unemployment for veterans who joined in 2001 improved slightly, but for those in the 18-to-24 age group, the unemployment rate continues to be over 21 percent.

"Veterans have to attend all 16 weeks to gain their certification -- 8 hours a day, 5 days a week -- and they're not getting paid while they do this; miss three times and they're asked to leave", Prado said.

Corporations do what they can in the form of donations and equipment, but Prado said, "While there's plenty of demand for skilled workers, there's just not enough funding to train as many veterans who want it."

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