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New Social Site Will Cater to Veterans

A marine recruiter in New York City is exiting the military and launching a website he describes as a “hybrid of Facebook and LinkedIn, tailored to the military.”

Michael Abrams knows this won’t be the first website offering support or job help for veterans. To name a handful of dozens, you have recruitmilitary, hireahero, hirevetsfirts, hiremilitary, vetjobs, of course the new Recruiters-of-Light project, and others.

But Abrams (4BlockVolunteer@gmail.com) believes the market could use a social-media oriented site where veterans can get to know other veterans already working. “Veterans really want to help guys transition out,” he says, “but there’s no easy way to connect with them.” Abrams says he wants to help “the guy coming back from Afghanistan who only has a couple of weeks to make the transition.”

Abrams, an officer recruiter for the Marines in Manhattan, is raising money for his project. He wants investors to give money to the for-profit part of the site, and individuals looking for worthy causes to donate to the non-profit part, which will offer mentoring and classes. He says no money has been raised to date, other than what members of a board and he have put in. A couple of companies have said they will be writing checks.

Meanwhile, he’s talking to the City University of New York about holding a week-long transition seminar for veterans who are now attending CUNY schools in New York City. And he’s assisting with the transition of a group of wounded Marines from the Wounded Warriors East company in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

The company will be called Four Block — one of those many website names that requires an explanation. Abrams explains it as follows:

“There are three distinct types of operations that our military conducts; humanitarian aid, peacekeeping, and full-combat. For the first time in history, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have blurred the lines of these operations and our service men and women have had to quickly and effectively transition between all three. Marines call this type of conflict The Three-Block War. However, we believe that there is a fourth and final block that our service men and women have to fight and win: the successful transition from military to civilian life. Four Block is a community of veterans, employers, and professionals that will provide transitioning service members with the tools and the opportunity to begin a new career.”

Recruiter-author-consultant Peter Weddle, a Vietnam veteran, generally likes the idea of the site. But, he says the problem with veterans getting jobs (a problem that extends even to government agencies required to pay special attention to vets) is not the lack of opportunities or connections. It’s the “continuous deployment of active and reserves, subject to recall and recall and recall,” he says, making employers reluctant to candidates who could end up being unreliable in their presence, through no fault of their own. “It’s a systemic problem, rather than lack of opportunity,” Weddle says, adding that at least the reception veterans are getting now is at least much better than in the Vietnam era.

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