PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- There are hundreds of Maine men and women who fought for their country in Iraq and Afghanistan, but can't find jobs here at home.
The Portland Chamber of Commerce hopes to change that. Chamber leaders and member businesses today launched the Portland Veterans Network-a three-part effort to help unemployed veterans get jobs.
Chamber member Chris Tyll, an Iraq veteran who now owns Pat's Pizza in Portland,is heading up the task force organizing the Veterans Network. Tyll says veterans have a lot to offer, but sometimes have a hard time translating their military skills to the civilian job market. "They have the skills employers need", says Tyll.
The Network will connect veteran s with local businesses, providing mentors who will introduce the vets to a number of potential employers. They'll also work with the veteran to connect with educational or training resources at USM and SMCC, and understand what other job-related assistance may be available. A South Portland-based fitness and therapy business is also providing help with wellness programs for veterans.
Chamber officials say they believe there are several hundred unemployed veterans in the Greater Portland area who could benefit from the program. The Chamber is also encouraging Chambers of Commerce in Bangor, Lewiston and other areas to copy the program.
Veterans can learn more about the program and sign up by contacting the Portland Veterans Network at 772-2811
or contacting the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce.