Many service members across the country are struggling with finding employment. One Missouri Army National Guard soldier is dedicated to helping those in need find jobs.
"There are a lot of unemployed service members and it's hard to find a job right now," said Staff Sgt. Jared Stewart, an employee assistance noncommissioned officer at the Ike Skelton Training Site.
When a service member goes to Stewart looking for job-hunting assistance, they can expect to receive assistance in a variety of ways.
"I help them prepare for interviews, help with resumes, and even job placement" he said. "I can also put together an information packet on companies to give to the inquiring service member. Preparation is key in getting people jobs."
There are several organizations that do the same type of work Stewart does. He works with the Department of Labor, local career centers, and the Missouri National Guard Employment Program, just to name a few. But Stewart has a couple advantages.
"One of the differences between me and them is that I know these soldiers," he said. "I can go to them one-on-one, I go to employers one-on-one, and I can go to the soldier's units and talk to their supervisors."
Since starting in his current job position in October 2010, Stewart has helped 37 unemployed service members find jobs. And he doesn't limit his assistance to only Missouri guardsmen, he helps any military member in need, including spouses.
"I help soldiers, spouses, National Guard soldiers from other states, active-duty, veterans, retirees, and sometimes the governor's office will send someone to me" Stewart said.
Many times, his job is challenging. Especially when it comes to helping retirees find employment.
"One of the biggest things I deal with is when a service member is retiring," Stewart said. "They have been working full-time earning a good paycheck for years, but they don't have a college degree. So when they retire and try to find a civilian job, their income takes a serious hit because they're lacking civilian education. It's a frustrating thing for them."
Other service members deploy and don't always have a job to come home to. It's with those soldiers that Stewart can relate to the most.
Stewart served in the Navy prior to serving in the Missouri National Guard, serving a total of over 12 years. In 2009, Stewart went to his 39th country since he enlisted in the military. He deployed to Iraq with the 1138th Military Police Company based out of West Plains.
"When I got home I was unemployed, so this job is a personal thing to me," Stewart said. "I like helping them out."
There are several websites that Stewart refers people to when they're looking for jobs. Some of those resources include www.usajobs.gov, www.missouricareersource.com, helmetstohardhats.org, h2h.jobs and www.onetonline.org.