TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — As many across the country look to get back to work, our veterans are having a tough time rebounding from the battlefield into the workforce.
In January, the unemployment rate for veterans was 5.5 percent compared to 6.3 for the nation as a whole.
Tallahassee Community College is on a mission to help veterans get back to work.
“I felt like I was walking on a tightrope when I first started,” shared Army veteran, Frank Brown. He retired from the Army after 20 years. Like many hoping to find a job, the pandemic complicated things.
“It was intimidating trying to transition into something new that I hadn’t experienced,” Brown explained.
Now, Danny James is leading the charge at TCC with their new Pathfinders Program for veterans like Brown.
“Any kind of assistance that a veteran would need to be successful at TCC, that’s what the Pathfinder Program is all about,” James explained.
Right now, there are nearly 400 veterans and dependents enrolled at TCC.
“People have lost their jobs,” James added. “One of the things we hope this is going to do is tear down that barrier.”
They’re doing so with a focus on mentoring military students and helping them adjust to the college experience. James said, “we don’t want people to get discouraged and give up.”
Pathfinders prepares veterans for a specific career path or future academic goals.
The services the school offers are something Brown said he appreciates. “The opportunity to work together and someone at your back to push you forward, it just gives you the opportunity to succeed,” he added.
Building on the teamwork he learned in the Army, Brown said he’s using TCC’s resources to take on a new challenge and plans on transferring to FAMU eventually. He hopes to become a public relations advisor for a nonprofit one day.
Pathfinders is designed to help active duty, retired, and people with military affiliation. The program can be found in the College’s Veterans Success Center.