Scott Hoad was at a low point this spring, trying to piece together a decent living after being laid off from a job painting commercial aircraft. Then Hoad crossed paths with Amy Patillo, a University of Missouri Extension labor and workforce development specialist based in Springfield, Missouri.
Patillo connected Hoad to the Disabled Veterans Outreach Program, and he learned his former work as a Marine made him entitled to GI Bill educational benefits. The outreach program helped Hoad explore trade school options, and he applied his benefits toward an eight-month welding program at the Midwest Technical Institute.
Employers — even those who have served in the military themselves — often have a hard time seeing how the skills veterans honed in military service transfer to civilian life, Patillo said. The Missouri Job Centers help veterans assess their skills and translate them into the language of the civilian job market.
“Sometimes you just need that program, that boost, those connections to help you understand and communicate the value you bring,” Patillo said. “And that is the value of extension. Because we are statewide and local, we work hard to build the relationships that connect people with important resources like these.”
In Hoad’s case, meeting Patillo put him on the path to a new career: “I’m so happy I have this program because it improves my and my family’s life.”
Learn more about workforce development efforts across the state of Missouri during Extension and Engagement Week’s All Things Missouri: Workforce Development session on Thursday, October 29.