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VetNet: new Google tool for unemployed warriors

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

For those who have done their duty, the slide from military service to civilian normalcy is rarely easy and too often, deeply troubled.

Many who have struggled describe a gaping "disconnect" between returning warriors and the plentiful resources that can smooth the path.

"Not knowing what to look for.  Not knowing your path that you want to take when you get out of the military," said Paul DeLaCerda, a combat veteran of the US Army who has witnessed the damage.  "A lot of times they don't even bother to look. They just take the closest job they can get. It might be a low paying job and they end up with financial problems or homelessness."

Filling this gap has become a "mission" for the Internet goliath we know as Google and an Internet partnership known as VetNet.  Billed as a one-stop shop for transitioning troops, VetNnet offers a three-pronged attack on veteran unemployment.

Track one offers basic training in resume writing, interviewing skills and access to more than a million veteran preferred job listings.  Track two and three deliver interactive career choice expertise and entrepreneurial advice from the very best in a variety of businesses.

"The good stuff they have are videos, tutorials telling what's available on the website, that's really good because it's almost like having face to face interaction," said DeLaCerda.

Phil Butcher is ex-Air Force and heads veteran services at the University of St. Thomas.  He's quickly become a fan of Vetnet and the variety of valuable services it's bringing to the table for free.

"I think these hangouts, these round tables are really good," said Butcher.  "In the transition industry you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. The good thing about this (VetNet) is you can do it from your computer at home. You don't have to go anywhere, so it makes it as easy as possible."

VetNet's guidance in free enterprise is of particular value to DeLaCerda who has built his own small business with the Warrior Spirit Band.

"Some (service members) just want to be their own boss for once and do their own thing," said DeLaCerda.

The unemployment rate among post 9/11 veterans is nearly 10 percent, nearly two points more than the national average.

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