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Veterans facing tough job market

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Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 5:17 pm | Updated: 9:13 am, Sun Jun 30, 2013.

SARASOTA--Gilbert Humphrey spent twenty years serving in the Marine Corps. Now he wants to put the skills he learned in the service to good use here at home.

"I won't give up trying and looking for an opportunity," said Humphrey, "and that's a strength."

His story is just like thousands of other service members: retired from active duty, and looking for a job with a S.S. company.

"I think there are a lot of veterans who can exceed expectations if given the opportunity," said Humphrey.

Getting veterans employed has become a top priority on the First Lady Michelle Obama's agenda.

"I am thrilled to announce that in less than two years America's businesses have hired or trained 290,000 veterans and military spouses," said Obama during a press conference Monday.

But despite that progress, unemployment experts here on the Suncoast say veterans are facing a tough job market just like every other American.

"Our veterans are experiencing a highly competitive labor market," said Joshua Matlock with Suncoast Workforce, who says they're currently working to find jobs for about 2,000 veterans in Sarasota and Manatee counties.

He adds that as the wars overseas wind down, the number of job seekers is going up, putting the onus on veterans to make a hard sell with potential employers.

"The better a veteran is at explaining their value to a company, then the better chance they have of gaining employment," said Matlock.

Humphrey is looking for something in the manufacturing field. He's says no matter how many others he's up against, he knows that at some point, he'll end up catching the job he's currently chasing.

"I never look at anything as this is a bad time, this is a bad economy," said Humphrey, "I just look for an opportunity."

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