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Employers help returning Oklahoma soldiers find jobs

Companies such as Devon Energy Corp. are helping to find jobs for about 1,000 Oklahoma National Guard soldiers who recently returned from Afghanistan and Kuwait.
BY BRYAN DEAN Published: September 10, 2012

“We are realistic,” Ward said. “We can't get them all hired at Devon, but we'd like to get them hired somewhere. Sept. 27, we will take six of our recruiters and meet with 40 of his Guard members. We will do mock interviews. We will go over their resumes.”

Pay cuts are issue

One of the other major problems facing returning soldiers is pay. Gormley took a pay cut from what he was making as an active-duty soldier in a combat zone when he got on at Devon.

“You get a lot of incentive pay and tax breaks when you are deployed,” Gormley said. “When you get back, a lot of people take a pay cut. I was in that same boat. I just had to adjust my goals for what the market was dictating. Hopefully I'm exchanging salary for something that can turn into a long-term position.”

Ward said another barrier is the returning soldiers' priorities. Some of the jobs Devon can offer might be an hour or two away.

“They have been gone a long time and they want to be with their families,” Ward said. “They don't want to leave again.”

Others may be dealing with personal or mental health issues and just aren't ready to go back into the work force. Griffis said about 10 percent of the returning soldiers are full-time students. But that leaves hundreds more who need work.

Gormley said the task can be daunting, especially for those who don't know how to translate their military skills into something that can be valuable for a civilian employer. But help is available, and Gormley encouraged his fellow soldiers to use it.

“It's difficult, but you just have to hang in there and take advantage of every resource that is available for you,” he said.

It's difficult, but you just have to hang in there and take advantage of every resource that is available for you.”

Jim Gormley

Contractor with Devon Energy Corp. who recently returned from Afghanistan


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