Dayton: Local group seeks to find jobs for 5,000 veterans by 2020

DAYTON — The Veterans & Employers Connection of Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley has targeted finding jobs for 5,000 veterans by 2020.

The Dayton-based organization launched its Challenge 5000 campaign Tuesday, reaching out to employers and spreading the message of help to former service members looking for a job.

The program has placed more than 200 veterans since June 2014 and aims to place 500 in jobs with employers throughout the region by the end of the year, said Daniel Semsel, program director and former vice commander of the 88th Air Base Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

“The snowball is running downhill, picking up speed,” Semsel told a gathering of employers and supporters at the Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley headquarters in Dayton.

The program has targeted unemployment and underemployment of veterans, a lack of a single employment-oriented support system for veterans in the area and to link employers to job-seeking veterans, he said.

The need will grow with more veterans leaving military service after departing Iraq or Afghanistan, said Lance W. Detrick, president and CEO of Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley.

“This is the right time to be starting a program like this,” he said.

Cliff Montgomery, 50, of Dayton was an Army veteran without a job for six years and lived for more than two months in a homeless shelter when he lost a job he said because of health issues. He worked with the program, including participating in call cener training, and is now a supervisor with Honeywell Co.

Post-9/11 veterans have an unemployment rate of 11.3 percent in Ohio,

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