When Dan LaRubio returned from a second tour in Afghanistan as part of the Georgia National Guard, he had plenty of skills to offer any company. In addition to military service, he had experience as a supervisor in a variety of sectors — business administration, retail and hospitality.
LaRubio wanted to find an employer who would meet him face-to-face and talk about his skills and career potential rather than check off the qualifications listed on his resume. There’s more to a person than what you can list on a piece of paper, he thought.
“I wanted to break the barrier of the computer age, where you have to beg and plead for any kind of sit-down talk with an employer through your resume and cover letter,” he says.
Then LaRubio found Georgia Tech’s Veterans Education Training and Transition program, which helps active duty service members readjust to civilian life and overcome employment hurdles. The four-week, full-time program is one of the first job placement assistance programs for veterans in the nation.
Georgia Tech matches veterans with employers who want to hire professional military employees with workforce training. The goal is for temporary placements to turn into permanent positions.
“The program not only brought me to an employer, but the support team also gave me insight into how to be a better employer,” LaRubio says. “In the military, you get into the mindset that things will be handled as long as you follow instructions and do your part of the job, and the class showed me ways the civilian sector would consider a soldier to be cold, rigid, or off-putting and how to overcome obstacles that a soldier may encounter in the civilian sector.”
The program placed LaRubio as a staffing specialist for Trace Staffing Solutions in Savannah, formerly known as Snelling Staffing Services. After he completed the program in November, LaRubio was hired full-time. His position, which focuses on the light industrial and hospitality sectors, pulls in a “mixed bag of tasks,” including sales, which fits well with LaRubio’s past experience.
“I love it because it’s a growth environment,” he says. “I’m not stuck and stagnant, and I’m still learning every day.”
LaRubio has watched fellow veterans struggle with their job search and spend their days looking online for a job. He advises them to “break out of the mold” of submitting resume after resume and to consider Georgia Tech’s Veterans Education Training and Transition program.
Like the fellowship and support you receive in the military, this program brings in a group of people who care about you.
“These companies already want to sit and talk with someone who is in the military, and it’s wonderful that they’re willing to give back to those who gave so much.”