Transitioning from military life to civilian life can be difficult. While in the service, soldiers are told what to do and everything is planned out for them. As a civilian, that changes drastically.

Aquiles Hernandez is a U.S. Army Veteran who spent one service tour in Iraq and earned the title of Specialist/Squad Leader by the end of his service. Aquiles sought services from Catholic Charities Veterans Employment Program after leaving his position of four years as an accountant in Afghanistan at Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR), a military service contractor. Although he was doing well at KBR and enjoyed the work, his family motivated him to return home. “I had to think about my kids,” he said.

Aquiles is a single father to his daughter, Liliana, and son, Luis. Upon his return, he found himself with the reality of having to support his family and needing to find a job as soon as possible. He had an impressive resume, including a Masters in Accounting and Finance from DeVry University, which he finished at the end of his military service. He approached his job search just as he was working before – 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. “But hitting ‘send, send, send’ didn’t work,” he said.

Aquiles met a lot of veterans who had been out of work for several years. “I began to think so negatively about my job search,” he said. “ I was out of work for three or four months,” Aquiles said.

A fellow veteran recommended Catholic Charities Veterans Employment Program to him and Aquiles met with Bert Smith, the Program Supervisor.

“Bert did more than just research for me,” Aquiles said. Bert assisted him with possible leads and tweaked his resume using key words, with highlights of his military experience more prominent for different positions. 

Soon enough, Aquiles was hired by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as a Financial Management Analyst. The position has worked out well for him and he said he is happy to be at a place that appreciates his skills and his military service. 

Catholic Charities Veterans Employment Program offers services that help veterans return to where they left off in their previous careers, and also to seek new job opportunities where they can apply their variety of skills. Personnel work with veterans to find jobs and remain stable, efficient employees. Staff aid veterans in understanding and presenting the value of the abilities acquired throughout their service. In addition, Catholic Charities Veterans Employment Program partners with various employers to connect them with veterans who have demonstrated leadership, discipline, responsibility and strong work ethic during their military service. 

For more information about Catholic Charities Veterans Services, click here.