This is historical material “frozen in time”. The website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work.

Search form

Helping Veterans Get Back to Work: Maria Canales

Maria Canales, an Army veteran, explains why it's so important that America fights to support those who fought for us. It took Canales five years to find a job that allows her to use the skills and knowledge she learned while serving her country, and she says others are not as lucky as she is.

Watch Army Veteran Maria Canales, here.

Maria Canales joined the Army in 2002, when she was 22 years old. First stationed in Germany, the Brooklyn, NY native, served in Iraq from October 2005 through October 2006. Although she left the Army in 2007, Canales did not find a job until October 2011.

Looking for work in the private sector was challenging. “I didn’t really know how they were going to perceive my experience. I could not translate my military skills well enough to get a job offer.” But now that she is working in a related field, Canales  is using what she learned in the Army every day.

She says the initiatives announced this week by President Obama – the Veterans Job Bank, My Next Move for Veterans and the Veterans Gold Card – are extremely important.

“Not everyone has a support system, not everyone knows exactly what to do when they come home. They are coming back with lots of uncertainty and don’t know exactly who to reach out to. When we have a plan for them before they get out then we are doing the right thing for every  veteran who is coming home.”

Despite the fact that our veterans have unique skills and experiences that make them excellent hires for any civilian business, their unemployment rate tops 12 percent. Read the stories of veterans like Maria who have struggled to transition their skills into new careers and find out why fighting for these heroes is a priority for the Obama Administration.