Matt King knows military veterans face a number of challenges as they try to transition back into civilian life.
Many combat veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder and other injuries. In addition, the current job market makes it difficult for veterans of any age as they try to transfer their skills from the military into an occupation at home.
“A lot of it goes back to they don’t know what is out there and who is out there to help them,” said King, a local veterans employment representative at the Lawrence Workforce Center.
The center and the American Legion Dorsey-Liberty Post No. 14 will offer a career workshop for veterans from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday at the American Legion, 3408 W. Sixth St.
The event will include speakers from 10 a.m. to noon, a free lunch and an open house from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Organizers expect more than 150 veterans to attend, and any veteran who wants more information can call the Lawrence Workforce Center at 840-9675.
To talk with veterans seeking jobs, some area employers are also scheduled to attend, including Aerotech Engineering and Research, the Sheet Metal Workers Union, Frito-Lay, ICL Performance Products and Plumbers and Pipefitters Local No. 41.
In addition to the job networking opportunities, the veterans can get information about possible benefits. Representatives from Helmets to Hardhats, as well as Troops to Teachers, are scheduled to attend, and representatives from Kansas University and Johnson County Community College will speak about the GI Bill and other benefits.
Charles Baars, a Lawrence resident who served five years in the Navy and 15 in the Coast Guard until 2000, has been looking for a job for three months. He’d worked for nine years as a CT scan technologist at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.
Baars said having a workshop to coach veterans and give them networking opportunities was important, especially because competition for any job is fierce right now.
“With people that are looking through 100 résumés, you’ve got to be real careful because yours could get thrown to the back of the pile,” Baars said.
Organizers of the event say they want to create a one-stop shop for veterans of all ages to get assistance.
“We want to be able to give veterans an idea of what benefits are entitled to them as well as be able to help them find employment,” King said.