Armando-Vega-SmallMy journey to secure gainful employment was not easy, it was a test filled with obstacles and rejections. In order to undertand my story I must start from the beginning. I was living in NYC last year and working minimally, barely logging-in a 40 hour week. Suddenly at the end of July I found myself unemployed with very little hope of finding a job. Being an older worker and out of a job made me feel tremendously uncertain. I truly hit a low point in my life and I was unhappy.

The next month I decided to celebrate my birthday with my long time friend who lives in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, a place I’ve always loved and visited for many years. On that day I went looking for a new place to live. I said to myself “what have I got to lose? If the real estate office denies my application at least I tried to make a change for the better.” Two days after returning to NYC I got the call from the real estate office – I was approved!

September 2012, I moved to Philadelphia a new beginning. The first few weeks I registered with local employment agencies and the Pennsylvania Career link, a state employment resource center. After getting familiar with the public transportation system I began to explore job fairs. One job fair after another I began to feel rejection, frustration and despair. It was as if I had felt this way before when I attended job fair events in NYC. Becoming ever so restless I knew that something had to give I was looking for a source of hope.

In November, I registered and attended a “Hiring our Heroes” job fair event for Veterans. My expectations were moderate as I entered the door to the Lincoln Financial Field, the site of this exclusive hiring event. An hour went by and I met several potential employers however, I felt very dissatisfied. Before departing that afternoon I reported to my career counselor who was there at the Career link table. My only parting comment was thanks for informing me about this event, nothing more.

When I approached the table I noticed another table to the left with a banner which read - The Philadelphia Veterans Multi Service and Education Center (PVMSEC). There I met a gentleman named Joe Adair who was genuinely interested in helping me. Although I was doubtful at first I said to myself “what have I got to lose?’’ The job fair did not lead me to a potential employer and here’s the PVMSEC, a veteran’s resource center and they seemed to be the source of hope that I was looking for.

A week later, I visited the PVMSEC offices and signed up for services and their 5 week computer course starting in January 2013. What a good decision that was for me, after completing the course and receiving a student achievement award, my updated resume was uploaded onto the PVMSEC website. Two weeks after graduation an employer in Center City saw my revised resume and contacted me, a week later I was hired. Today I am very happy to report that I am gainfully employed and exhilarated while learning on the job each and every day.

Indeed my story has a happy ending however, if not for my belief and ability to persevere despite the rejections and numerous obstacles I would not have made it. The message I would like to share with my fellow unemployed veterans is to always believe, never give up and locate veteran’s resource centers like the PVMSEC or wherever they may be. A special thanks to Joe Adair, Tim Meserve, Linda Kahlert and the rest of the good people at the PVMSEC for all your help. You are the very best!

Anonymous - Philadelphia, PA

"I am the wife of a Viet Nam Veteran. My husband started going to PVMSEC 10 years ago for help. No mere words could ever express how much his life and in turn our family life has changed for the better in those years. I am and always will be grateful for the wonderful care he has received at the Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service Center & Education Center."

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