Valley Veterans Receive $1-Million Dollars

December 30, 2008 7:27:45 PM PST
Valley Veterans are getting a nearly $1-million dollar boost from the federal government. John Cardinas spent his afternoon plastering a house in Southeast Fresno. He's a Vietnam Veteran with a job. Across town ... James Ramirez is also a veteran but unemployed and searching for a job on-line.

"Labor, dig ditches, as long as it brings me a check," said James Ramirez.

Ramirez said he's desperate and willing to take anything including a job like Cardinas'. Unemployment among Valley Veterans is a major concern as service members return home from the Iraq War.

"They're usually structured. They can be at work on time. They know how to take direction," said Maurice Lee.

Maurice Lee runs a center called San Joaquin Valley Veterans. This month the agency received nearly a million dollars to help former service men and women land vocational jobs like construction. Lee says the money will be used for job training and help veterans address a unique stumbling block.

"To wrap the other services around them that may be impairment to them being successful such as addressing their mental health, maybe they're homeless, maybe there's substance abuse," said Lee.

"I just hope something opens up. From day to day, it's hard not knowing where things are going to come, if i'm going to pay this bill, that bill," said Ramirez.

Until the center boosts its training next year ... Ramirez will just be waiting to jump into the workforce.

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