BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A Biloxi casino is honoring our veterans by hiring them. On Tuesday, two veterans will graduate from a new job training program at the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi. It's called "Boots to Business." The program helps our military members transition from active duty to the civilian workforce.
Michael Chevere spent Veterans Day learning a new skill, detailing limousines. Chevere is a veteran who served 14-years as a Navy Seabee. For him, it has been a difficult transition since he left the military two years ago.
"Coming to the civilian world is a total 180 from what I'm used to, me being in for so long. That's been my life for 14 years and I've known nothing else," said Chevere.
Now, Chevere is getting valuable training in all aspects of hotel operations at Beau Rivage, from housekeeping duties to management. He is one of two veterans in the first "Boots to Business" class at the casino.
"It actually gave me some hope. I've been struggling for two years to find a decent job," said Chevere.
The candidates are recruited and hired by the American Red Cross. Once accepted, they go through ten-weeks of on-the-job training in the department they're interested in and attend leadership development classes. The Red Cross provides transition workshops. The vets also get paid while they are going through training.
"It helps them transition back into every day normal civilian life. This gives them an opportunity to earn a living to help feed their family," said Allison Smith Mitchell, Beau Rivage Human Resources Director. "They finish the program by the end of this week, they'll be starting their new positions next week. They're guaranteed positions, absolutely."
Chevere graduates on Tuesday. Next Monday, he'll start his new job as Public Area Supervisor.
"It's still unreal. It went by quick," he said. "It's hard for us to really know where to start to get involved with any type of company, and companies putting out their hand and helping us is always great."
The other veteran in the inaugural class is Tyler Angelle, who served four years in the Marine Corps. He will take over the Room Service Assistant Manager position next week.
"It makes us feel good to give back and be part of it," said Mitchell. "This was a great opportunity for us to say 'thanks' and give back to our veterans."
There are four job training sessions a year, with two to four veterans per class. If you are interested in applying for the program, call the American Red Cross at (228) 896-4511.