PHOENIX - When it comes to unemployment, the number of people filing for benefits has fallen.
But in Arizona the recent months haven’t been quite as encouraging. Our unemployment rate has shot up half a percent in three months.
The situation is even more dire for Valley veterans.
On Thursday the city of Phoenix held a special hiring event to get these heroes hired.
One veteran told ABC15 just how tough the situation is.
Lamont Whitehead is a 25 year Army veteran with an expertise in operations.
He spent his last eight months in Baghdad and now joins the many unemployed veterans.
His home is filled with his Army accomplishments, including a presidential award for safety.
Whitehead refers to his company as “the motley crew,” their job to equip Humvees with state-of-the-art armor.
“Soldiers come in at 2, 3 in the morning and thank us because they were out on a convoy and their convoy got hit and the supplemental armor we put on their vehicles helped save their lives,” Whitehead explained.
But while soldiers back in Baghdad are thankful to survive another day, Whitehead wonders if he’ll survive the civilian world.
“I go to bed every night thinking ‘OK, how am I going to pay for my home, how am I going to put gas in my cars, how am I going to pay for my kids’ tuition,’” Whiteheads says.
Each morning the veteran spends five hours job searching and filling online applications.
He volunteers the other five hours.
But despite all his accomplishments, he keeps getting passed up or offered underpaying jobs.
“Bringing in college students to pay them $40,000 a year and requiring them to do 80- 90 thousand dollars’ worth of work,” Whitehead says.
Still, Whitehead dresses to impress, hoping to find that job that will give him a way to stay in Arizona with his family.
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