portrait of ElizabethEmployment Services for Veterans, Participant

Elizabeth gained international knowledge while serving eight years in the U.S. Army. Her duties focused on human intelligence collection and analysis and included a tour of Iraq. But after being discharged, Elizabeth later struggled with the confidence to present herself as an asset to employers.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, up to 20% of American service members deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom have experienced serve-connected post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These veterans can face obstacles in securing employment.

“When you think of war veterans, you think of physical [disabilities]. Nobody really speaks about the hidden ones, the mental ones,” Elizabeth said. “One thing the military does is prepare you for being the best soldier you can be. But once you finish your service, it’s very difficult to adjust back to what we call civilian life.”

While studying for a Master of Business Management degree at St. John’s University, Elizabeth sought out the help of The Viscardi Center’s Employment Services for Veterans. A consultation with an employment placement professional led to employer networking events, a refined resume, and practice interviews with HR leaders from companies like Canon and BAE Systems.

Drawing from her newfound confidence, Elizabeth applied for a higher paying position from her then sales role at a local Apple Store. She now works as an Apple Genius Admin, providing hands-on support for customers seeking product repairs. It’s a role she thrives in, and one that makes her feel excited about the future as she continues her education.

“Growing up as a first-generation [American-born citizen], you don’t always get the opportunity to expand your horizons. You’re pretty much leading the way for your family,” she said. “I was grateful to learn basic things that I probably wouldn’t have learned — the importance of networking, the importance of resume writing, and the importance of properly communicating my skills from the military and how they translate over to the civilian world.”

Learn more about how The Viscardi Center’s is helping veterans enter or re-enter the workforce.