Navy Veteran Eric Allen

With DES help, veteran goes from sales job to project manager

When U.S. Navy veteran Eric Allen got job placement assistance from the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) Veterans Employment Program, his life changed.

After losing his sales job, Allen went to the DES ARIZONA @ WORK office. Although he was looking for a job, his workforce specialist, Joel O’Connor, suggested that Allen take a broader look, and he did. After completing a profile assessment and discussing his skills and interests, a career in project management seemed to be a better fit. He loved the idea but didn’t have the credentials needed for the position, so O’Connor connected him to a certification program offered at the Phoenix Computer Academy.

While in this program, Allen also attended several ARIZONA @ WORK workshops, including one that helped him update his résumé, use LinkedIn for job searches, and a workshop on best practices for a job interview.

Within three hours of posting his new and improved LinkedIn profile, Allen received 25 viable job leads. Allen says that he would recommend DES employment services to other veterans. 

“DES has so many resources for vets. They will help you create and tailor your résumé for the job you want,” he said.

“Our goal is to treat veterans holistically,” said former DES State Veterans Workforce Manager Chris Hisel.

Hisel and his team, all veterans themselves, provide proactive employment services to thousands of unemployed veterans throughout the state. Federal funding provided by the Department of Labor allows eligible veterans to receive priority employment-related services, including job referrals, access to veteran-specific job fairs, DES employment resources rooms, and special services to ready former military for the civilian workforce.

Funding is also available to equip veterans with any necessary tools they may need for employment.

“These requirements could be specialized clothing, transportation to and from their employment, or anything else that helps a veteran who has accepted an employment offer get to work,” said Hisel.

Allen accepted a great job offer even before he completed his certification.

“It’s nice to be in demand now,” said Allen.

He is currently working full-time as a project manager and is thrilled about his new career.

“I can’t say enough good things about the DES veterans program,” said Allen. “I feel that this is just the tip of the iceberg for me, and I wanted to reach out to share my story.” For additional information about the DES Veterans Workforce Program, go online to: https://des.az.gov/services/employment/veterans

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