Free Job Help, Training for Veterans

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ELYRIA, Ohio— It's one of the first thing the troops will do when they return home, but looking for work can seem nearly impossible in today's economy.

"The job market is very bad right now," said Terry Stone of AmVets Career Center. "I know it's bad in Lorain County. It seems like it's bad everywhere, so it's going to be tough."

The AmVets Career Center in Elyria is offering veterans of all ages a job boost.

The Career Center is one of about 50 in the state.

Nearly 600 veterans take advantage of the local center, a number that Stone said is steadily increasing.

"Been seeing lot of younger ones coming in, a lot of the returning vets from Afghanistan and Iraq," he said. "They're returning back and they're not finding the job is still there that they left."

Ohio is one of four states with job centers of this kind, offering classes, career advice and other job training.

Business classes, computer certification and even wine-making are among the 300 classes offered at the site.

Many of the courses are online, allowing each serviceman and woman the ability to learn at their own pace.

"After the first class, I got addicted. I just can't get enough of it," said veteran Terry Moyes, who is taking an engine repair course. "I'm out in my garage. Until it gets too cold, I'll be out in that garage.

Veterans like Steve Geiswite said the course has allowed him to volunteer services to the community -- among other perks.

"When you take something like a lawnmower to the shop, I mean they charge you something like $65, $75 bench charge," he said. "This year alone, I've probably saved $500 or $600."

"It's home away from home, giving veterans a second chance at work," said instructor Ed Gore.

"I don't know if it's to get away from home or to come and work on lawnmowers, but we do a lot of work," he said. "It's a benefit to help the vets, and that's what it's all about."

Stone said all men and women who've honorably served in the U.S. military are eligible to use the AmVets Career Centers in Ohio.

Family members can also access services--some for free.

For more information, go to http://www.amvetscareercenter.org.

With thousands of troops returning home from Iraq, Fox 8 wants to recognize the local men and women who have served.

Reporter Annette Lawless will help share the story of our young soldiers, veterans, their families, the homecomings and resources throughout the community.

Fox 8 is honored to recognize the military hero in your life.

You can e-mail your story to annette.lawless@fox8.com.

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