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Unemployed Veteran Piloting New Online Service to Land Job in Folsom, California
The ‘Hire Mike Barrett Campaign’ uses new technologies in hopes of achieving virtual ‘face time’ with employers and local Folsom community
“Since I first moved back after my honorable discharge,” says Mike Barrett, “it took me a year of job-seeking before I finally got one interview.” Since 2009, Barrett estimates he has sent out roughly 300 copies of his resume to various corporations, where he has been told is the best place to find job opportunities, yet he hasn’t received a single call back, and has been on unemployment for nine months now.
“The problem is not that Mike lacks the skills or talents,” says Dr. Paul McDonald, Co-Founder of VetFolios.com, “or even that there are no jobs, as Folsom has low unemployment rate of 5 percent, it is that Mike’s resume does not stand out from other resumes submitted through standard corporate HR systems, and small businesses are not aware of Mike’s abilities.”
Barrett and his girlfriend are raising two children in Folsom, the youngest of which is only seven months old. His girlfriend has also been unemployed since giving birth to their son, and Barrett says the couple is waiting until he finds a job before getting married since, being on unemployment, he is not be able to provide the level of health insurance his girlfriend currently receives as a single mother.
“I am frustrated and constantly stressed,” says Barrett, “because I know I can be a valuable asset to almost any Folsom business, but there is not a good way for me to communicate I am available for work, and most small business jobs are found through word of mouth which is hard for me to learn about until it is too late.”
“I’ve tried all of the professional networking sites out there,” Barrett says, “and I’ve tried posting my resume on all the major job board websites. I’ve also been through the job placement programs designed specifically for veterans. My problem is that I do not have a local network built up since I have been in the service for the past nine years and have not developed local relationships that are critical for learning about Folsom job opportunities.”
Veterans have had an increasingly more difficult time finding work than non-veterans. According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans was 15.2 percent in January 2011, compared with 9.1 percent for non-veterans, and even more alarming is that California veterans aged between 18 and 24 have a 25 percent unemployment rate.
“Veterans need help when returning from service to show the local community what skills they have to contribute, and VetFolios.com could be the cutting-edge technology solution our veterans need to do just that,” says Ted Puntillo, Deputy Secretary of the California Department of Veteran Affairs, which is currently in negotiation with VetFolios for possibly making these tools available for all California veterans. “In five or six years, instead of people asking you to send your resume, they will be asking you to send your online portfolio, and I think it will definitely give our veterans an edge over anyone who doesn’t have one. We are watching this pilot program in Folsom very carefully to see how the local community embraces these technologies to help our country’s veterans.”
“People cannot show who they are with a single piece of paper,” adds Mike Barrett. “Companies want someone who will be a good fit for their team, and with VetFolios.com, I can bring my resume to life, demonstrating my speaking and presentation skills through video and interactive tools. This enables potential employers the chance to get to know me easily before taking the time to call or bring me in for an interview. The tools also are all available online so it is easy for anyone to pass my virtual resume to others in the community and I can track how many visits I get each day.”
But getting Mike’s portfolio website into the right local hands proposes its own hurdle. However, the Folsom Chamber of Commerce may have solution to help make local small businesses aware of Mike’s talents.
“First, as a business organization,”
“We are happy to participate in this pilot initiative,”
For more information about Mike Barrett and his “Hire Mike Barrett Campaign” on VetFolios.com, visit http://www.vetfolios.com and http://www.vetfolios.com/
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VetFolios is being brought to life through a combined effort between AxHill LLC, a Washington, DC, military consulting and technology firm and the California Department of Veteran Affairs (still in negotiation)
Page Updated Last on: Oct 14, 2011