ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – There are many challenges for Veterans when they leave the service, especially when trying to find a job that fits their skills.
“It’s difficult once you get out of the military that transition to the business world once you want to do something on your own,” Mark Blask, President of Roadhouse Innovation, said.
Blask was in the Navy for over 27 years and recently started his own business out of Little Falls that designed a Move Over Alert System for law enforcement.
“You push a button on your dash, and an arm comes right out the side of your vehicle with arrows, directing people away from your vehicle.”
Blask is one of hundreds of veterans that attended a conference on Tuesday that helped connect businesses like his to government contracts.
“It is challenging for them to not only find jobs, it is even more challenging for them to start up businesses by getting capital and contracts,” Greg Rinckey, Founding Partner of Tully Rinkey, Attorneys at Law Sponsor of Vetcon, said.
Due to an initiative that passed in 2014, six percent of state government contracts in New York must go to service disabled veteran-owned businesses. That’s why conferences like Vetcon help connect these veterans.
“It’s a great thing. The sacrifice that our service members gave over the years of their service is a way for the state to recognize that and give back,” Rinckey said.
“That’s what Vetcon is really good for, as far as relationships, contracting,” Blask said.
According to the Department of Labor, unemployment rate for veterans is around seven percent in New York. As William Keys, a veteran who served in Vietnam explains, it is important for veterans to know what sort of resources are available to them and to know they are not alone.
“They come out and realize that the community as a whole is out there to help them. That they shouldn’t feel afraid that they’re going to be turned away,” Keyes said.