Army veteran Jordan Fragoso was dissatisfied with his career path after he retired from the military in 2005.
He worked in construction and in post-flooding home restoration and considered attending the College of Southern Nevada.
“But then I was told about a potential job with North Las Vegas,” Fragoso said. “They were telling me about job training to work in code enforcement.”
Fragoso learned, via the Department of Veterans Affairs, that he was eligible to join a city of Las Vegas on-the-job training program for disabled veterans.
The Henderson City Council recently approved the same program.
“The hope and intent is to enable veterans with minimal disabilities and provide them with training in various departments,” said Greg Blackburn , Henderson’s assistant city manager.
Similar to North Las Vegas, Henderson is partnering with VA, which will help identify applicants.
Candidates will be offered a six-month internship in various departments, excluding the fire and police departments.
“They have the option to extend for another six months afterward,” Blackburn said.
Veterans Affairs also handles pay and supplies candidates with needed items, such as safety gear.
“So there is no cost for the city,” Blackburn said.
Blackburn, who helped implement the program in North Las Vegas before being hired at Henderson, saw how the program can help.
“We had one veteran who had a degree in finance but no civilian experience,” he said. “We were able to give that experience for six months.”
Thomas Martens, a code-enforcement manager for North Las Vegas, said that city has had two applicants since its program began a little more than a year ago. That number is expected to grow.
He said the program is needed because of the obstacles many veterans face when returning to civilian life.
“They join the military when they are 18, 19 or 20, then come back with no formal education,” he said. “They have to face a tough job market.”
Fragoso, of Summerlin, said he joined the Army Reserves in 2001, when he was 19, as a way to pay for college and earn a living. In January 2003, he was informed he would be deployed to Iraq. He served until 2005.
Fragoso’s six-month internship ends in March. He plans to get certified in code enforcement and apply for any open jobs.
“I hope to at least get a part-time job until something full time opens up,” he added.
Now that Henderson has approved the program, the city is waiting for VA to provide applicants.
“We are doing this first and foremost to help our veterans,” Blackburn said, “but it’s a win-win for everyone.”
To reach Henderson View reporter Michael Lyle, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 702-387-5201. Find him on Twitter: @mjlyle.