CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Some join the military with a plan for life afterwards while others plan to make a life of the military.
When their service is unexpectedly cut short, finding a foothold in the civilian world can be tough.
In the last 13 years, Dr. Ridge Hammons has taken more than 5,000 students to more than 125 local employers. Now, Hammons wants to provide his ‘HELP’ to transitioning veterans.
“We're just able to help people people make those transitions,” said Martin Nelson.
Nelson knows about transitions. He planned on pursuing a career in nursing after he retired from the U.S. Coast Guard in 2010.
A cancer diagnosis changed that.
“His program would have been ideal for me,” said Nelson of Hammons.
Last year, Hammons started offering virtual versions of his ‘Hammons Employment Leadership Programs’ to kids in juvenile detention. Now, with Nelson's help, they're offering them to veterans.
“It kind of just seemed like we need to work with vets who are stepping out of the service, or maybe weren't in the kind of job they hoped to be in,” said Hammons.
“These programs will take a lot of stress and streamline the transition,” said Nelson. “The good thing is we know where they're going because we already know the employers.”
They know the employers because they're local. Veterans just need to log on, take as many virtu-tours as they want, and hopefully find a career.
“Veterans typically bring with them a maturity that employers really need and want,” said Hammons. “We want them to see that there's great opportunities.”
Hammons says the virtu-tours have been successful with kids in juvenile detention. He and Nelson are confident of more success with veterans.
“The kids in juvie did not plan on being in juvie,” said Nelson. “Some of the people leaving the military didn't expect to blow out a knee or a back and leave the military, and they certainly didn't expect cancer mid-life with a bunch of teenagers at home.”
Hammons says some of the virtu-tours are online and available now at his website. He hopes to have all the programs up and running by September.