Non-profit helps military members transition into civilian jobs

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - David Griffin has spent the past 20 years serving our country. He will be retiring soon, and for the first time in his life he is looking for a civilian job.

"I have been a weather forecaster for the United States Navy, and it's about time to do something different," Griffin said. "So I need to find a job."

Griffin is not sure what he is qualified to do, so he went to a military career expo in Gulfport to look for guidance.

"I got my degree in human recourse management," Griffin said. "So I don't really have that experience so that's the main thing I guess, but I feel like I'm capable of doing anything."

His wife Shanna is also looking for a job. She said it has been tough on her career having to relocate with her husband.

"We really have to start from ground zero up," Shanna said. "If you are fortunate enough to find a good job, it's rare because the competition is so tough out here."

Griffin is only one of more than 200,000 military members that will leave active duty this year and try to transition into the civilian world, according to the Non Commissioned Officers Association. The non-profit military organization hosts career expos across the country hoping to make it easier for our nation's heroes to find jobs.

"Their job has been guaranteed there for a long time and now they need to search for a job, and some of them don't know how to do that," NCOA Director of Operations Jeri Glowacki said. "Some of them have never done that, and it's kind of a scary aspect so we try to put the employers in contact with them so they can come together face-to-face and kind of alleviate a little of that."

NOCA recruits employers from across the country, like the Dallas Police Department, who would benefit from hiring employees with a military background.

"We are a paramilitary style organization," Dallas Police Department officer Latonia Kelly said. "So most military guys when they come into the department with our training they are very familiar with it."

For families like the Griffins, who are willing to move anywhere for a job, the military career expo presents them with a lot of opportunities.

"I'm a smart guy, so I think I can do anything," Griffin said.

Copyright 2014 WLOX. All rights reserved.