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Google helps veterans

Veterans are invited by Google to learn more Friday about tools that are available to help warriors transition back into civilian life.

A special forum for military families takes place from 4 to 6 p.m. Sept. 6 at the Civic Auditorium in The Dalles, 323 East Fourth Street. The topics covered will include planning for life after service, how to prepare an eye-catching resume and look for a new career.

“We help veterans take the skills they have learned in the military and sell them to the civilian world,” said Christel Allen, associate of government affairs for Google.

“We are not going to be training just the veterans who show up but the folks who work with vets in the community.”

The key is to match the veteran with the employer who is looking to capitalize on his or her training, said Allen.

“We will have people available to provide practical help to veterans and show them how to take advantage of our technological resources,” she said. “We want to give them the tools they need to forge a new path and find the right career.”

The challenge facing veterans to find a job can be high with about 205,000 of those who have served in or during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars now without work, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As the Afghanistan War winds down, the Pentagon plans for more than 300,000 veterans to leave the military each of the next four years and be looking for jobs.

Rep. John Huffman, R-The Dalles, is a disabled Army veteran who serves on the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

“We spend a considerable amount of time each session talking about the needs of returning veterans and how to best plug them into services available that will help them reintegrate into society,” he said.

“Though I believe the state can play a role in assisting and organizing reintegration efforts I strongly believe the actual deployment of these services is best accomplished locally.

“I am excited about what Google has come up with because it can be accessed universally and it is private sector assistance and not top-down, government driven. I think there is great potential for returning veterans through what Google is doing.”

According to Allen, the Google Veterans Network was launched about a year ago because many of the employees have served – or have someone in their family who has — and wanted to help returning troops.

The company decided to give back to those who provide the national defense by teaching veterans and military families how useful free online tools could be.

The range of options open to veterans includes everything from building a 3D virtual tour of their service, creating a photo album and storing military documents to building a resume tracking investments, establishing an online presence for their business to helpful tips to make their reintegration go much smoother.

Programs are also available to help veterans connect with men and women they have gotten to know while in the service.

Military family members can learn at Friday’s seminar how to access programs at www.google

forveterans.com and learn more about their loved one’s combat experiences, issues that matter to veterans and how to strengthen their relationships.

Allen said VetNet has been organized in cooperation with Hiring Heroes USA, a non-profit dedicated to creating job opportunities for veterans and their spouses. Google also partners with Hiring Our Heroes, an effort to have 500,000 veterans hired by the end of 2014 that has been undertaken by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Refreshments will be served after Friday’s training and veterans or military family members who are interested in participating are asked to sign up by emailing Katie Bowman at kbowman@google.com

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