Massive effort to help veterans get back into the workforce - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Massive effort to help veterans get back into the workforce

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PHOENIX -

There are some startling numbers regarding veterans finding work -- and living on the streets.

The latest statistics show that among post 9-11 veterans, unemployment remains extremely high at 9.3 percent and more than 62,000 veterans are living on the streets -- homeless in the country they fought for.

We're highlighting two programs aimed at tackling these issues: the city of Phoenix is spearheading a program to fight homelessness among veterans and there has been a major push among big corporations to hire veterans.

After spending five years in the army, including 10 months in Iraq, James Oberg reentered civilian life and recently got hired at Wal-Mart.

"I have been working with Wal-Mart for about 3.5 months now," he said.

Oberg works at Wal-Mart's Casa Grande distribution center.

"I supervise a team of facility of upkeep and maintenance technicians and we have about 12 associates."

He got the job at a career fair geared toward members of the military.

"The big experience that I took from the military was responsibility -- taking responsibility for my actions and the actions of the other people around me."

Oberg is a success story, but there are many others still in need of help.   Earlier this year, the city of Phoenix took steps to tackle homelessness among veterans.

"The key is to go after those people who have been living on the streets for a very long time and there is way way too many.  When we first started, there were hundreds of veterans living on the streets of Phoenix and in our region. We are down to about 80 right now," said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton.

By coordinating efforts from different veterans groups and helping securing funding, the city is on track to eliminate homelessness among veterans by the end of the year.

"I am proud that the city of Phoenix has taken the lead and they will be the first city in America to eradicate a homeless veterans issue," said Arizona Senator John McCain.

For other veterans looking to get into the workforce, here is this former soldier's advice:

"Always have a positive attitude. Be out there, never hesitate to take that leap of faith and go out there, raise your hand and say I am ready for this job," said Oberg.

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