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Veteran Shows Off Job Skills in Stamford

STAMFORD, Conn. — Paul Torres had been bouncing from job to job and in and out of school since leaving the U.S. Navy in 1994. But with help from federally funded programs, he has found steady work in the energy efficiency trade.

“It seems to fit me like a glove,” Torres said as he finished an energy audit at a North Stamford home Thursday. He has been working the past seven months for Gulick Building and Development LLC .

After four years in the Navy, Torres said it was difficult to come back and transition to civilian life, without the constant demands and structure of the Navy. The skills needed to serve in the military don’t necessarily transfer to other careers, he said, and those that do, such as security work, aren’t necessarily available.

Torres’ life took a turn for the better about eight months ago when another veteran suggested going to the WorkPlace for job training. He spent about four weeks there learning how to conduct energy audits before being hired by Gulick.

Now he has found a job that he likes, helping people save money. Torres hopes to go out on his own and start his own energy efficiency business.

“It’s helpful all around, and it’s what we should be doing more of,” state Sen. Carlo Leone said of helping veterans such as Torres transition into civilian careers. Leone is program manager at the WorkPlace.

Leone hopes to receive more funding to help veterans get the training needed to be successful in civilian life. Unemployment among veterans is consistently higher than nonveterans nationwide, he said, and many more will soon be returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Leone, who represents Darien and Stamford, said this is the third year of the program and nearly 200 veterans have participated.

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