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Troops get job direction after homecoming celebration
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By: Times_Newsroom

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After the patriotic music and fanfare around their return had faded, Charlie Company soldiers could get down to the business of finding jobs.

James Gilmer, services specialist with the Georgia Department of Labor, met with members of the Georgia Army National Guard unit after Saturday’s homecoming celebration to talk about their employment future.

“It’s just been good to give them that guiding finger in which direction to go,” he said. “I know when I came home myself (from Vietnam), there was so much you were not told that you could do.”

Gilmer estimated that about 10 percent of returning soldiers need help.

“Most of them do have jobs when they leave ... and when they come back, most of them are able to go back to (the same job),” Gilmer said.

“And then you have some companies that don’t bring them back, and you can sort of see their point of holding a job for (one) person. They’ve got a business they’ve got to continue,” he added.

Some look at switching careers.

“Most of them, this time, are looking at going into school instead of right back to work,” Gilmer said.

He added that he has had success through the years in finding the right niche for veterans.

“It’s been a pleasure to do what I’ve done through the years. It’s just like a mission field for me,” Gilmer said.

Corson Lee Allen, lead instructor in the electrical utility technology program at Lanier Technical College in Oakwood, worked a table inside the armory.

He was talking with soldiers about a two-year program to get an associate degree in applied science.

“This program needs ... people that have life experience and understand chain of command and taking orders,” Allen said. “The difference between living and dying might be following that switching order.”