By Spc. Shameka Edwards, 4th Infantry Division Public Affairs OfficeJanuary 8, 2010
FORT CARSON, Colo. - Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter Jr. visited Fort Carson to sign a proclamation recognizing the efforts of a nonprofit organization to assist veterans separating from the military in finding jobs in the construction field.
The honorary proclamation identified the need within the construction industry for men and women with prior training, discipline and leadership; and encouraged construction workers to become active in the National Guard and Reserves.
Ritter said, during his Dec. 16 visit, by supporting the nonprofit organization which has provided approximately 1,800 veterans with vocational training and construction jobs in the past year, he and the state of Colorado have demonstrated a firm commitment to veterans and servicemembers.
The nonprofit organization was created as part of a federally-funded program to find jobs and careers in the building and construction trades.
Maj. Gen. David G. Perkins, commanding general, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, and Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards, adjutant general of Colorado, hosted the governor, who spoke with leaders of the Fort Carson and Colorado community at an on-post construction site for a future Mountain Post Soldier and Family Assistance Center.
"We must ensure veterans who risk their lives for our freedom can successfully transition back into the civilian work force when they come home," said Ritter.
Perkins thanked the governor and all in attendance on behalf of 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson Soldiers and their Families.
"It is great for our Soldiers and their Families to see the rest of America take note of the sacrifices they have made each and every day," said Perkins. "We can continue to live in a free and prosperous country and have those same Soldiers who have fought for our freedom and liberty transition over to this great program."
"While Soldiers wore helmets they defended our nation by defending the principles we live by every day," said Perkins. "When they transition from their military profession and put on a hardhat, they are continuing to support our country by building it up from the ground up."
The free, nonprofit program connects retired and transitioning military members with local construction employers.
The program providing civilian careers for returning veterans embraces the military, aiding servicemembers as they transition from active duty, said Edwards.
"Servicemembers transition from military service to civilian life, put on hard hats and continue to serve by helping to build this great state of Colorado," Edwards said.
The unemployment rate for veterans is three times that of the national average as the successful transition into a civilian work force can be difficult, said Army veteran Clay Ditmore, a participant in the vocational program.
"I see far too many of my brothers working for low wages, or they are unemployed," said Ditmore. "We want you, strong, smart and willing to learn."
Servicemembers and veterans interested in participating in the program can contact the nonprofit organization at 1-866-741-6210 for more information.