From left: Disabled Veterans Outreach Program Specialist Reynaldo Locquiao Jr., Henry Benavidez, and Business Services Specialist Samuel Townsend.
Written by By Leo Kay on October 19, 2017
Henry Benavidez found himself at a professional crossroads when a death in his family prematurely ended his Marine Corps career. After the service granted him a hardship separation, he moved with his wife back home to Bakersfield, California, where he bounced from job to job.
After a couple of years, Henry’s friends told him about America’s Job Center of California in Bakersfield. Counselors with the center’s Veterans Service Program helped him improve his resume and pointed him to a career fair. Within weeks, Henry was beating the pavement in nearby Arvin, going door to door selling cable, phone, and internet connection contracts to local homeowners as a direct sales representative for Spectrum.
Henry lost 10 pounds by hitting about 50 houses a day in a traditionally warm summer in California’s Central Valley. And he’s helping provide for his family once again. Aspiring to move into management someday, he is considering the company’s offer to pay for continuing education that can be applied to the job.
Henry is grateful for the skills and mindset the Marine Corps instilled in him, but acknowledged that he had to “mold himself back into a civilian mindset” following his discharge. While he has adjusted to the civilian work environment, he hasn’t lost the values and abilities he learned as a marine.
“A lot of employers want veterans because they know they’ll do what they have to do to get the job done,” Henry said.
He encourages others separating from the military to take advantage of the resources American Job Centers offer.
“The Veterans Service Program helped me restructure my resume, which allowed me to secure my job,” he said. “I believe that without the help of the Veterans Team, I would not have obtained this job. It’s full steam ahead now.”
America’s Job Center of California in Bakersfield provides recruitment and training services for local employers and job seekers. Find the job center nearest you by calling 1-877-872-5627 or visiting www.careeronestop.org.
Editor’s note: Henry’s story is one example of an effective workforce program in action. View more success stories here.
Leo Kay is the director of public affairs for the Department in San Francisco.