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Chris' Story

Chris

I decided to join Mt. Adams Institute’s VetsWork AmeriCorps program to pursue my passion of the outdoors and to give back to my community. Also, I was destined for this field, as both my grandfather and uncle were foresters. After serving four years in the Air Force, the VetsWork program was a perfect fit because I wanted a career change but did not know how to do it. The program placed me on the Shawnee National Forest serving an internship as a timber technician. I got incredible field work experience, certifications, networking opportunities with professionals, and career development trainings. I think the raw experience of the program is really important. People come out of college with a four-year degree and enter the work force with no clue on the processes and real applications of practices within any field, let alone natural resources. Having the hands-on, exclusive knowledge of how an agency works is an unmatched opportunity that the VetsWork program offers. I also think the exposure to people within the agency is key because they are the folks who will be advocating for you when it comes time to pursue a career. The VetsWork program being an apprenticeship allowed me to use my GI Bill funds in conjunction with the AmeriCorps living stipend, creating a standard of living that I was comfortable with, thus allowing me to excel in my position. This is a great opportunity for veterans to explore a field they are passionate about without having financial stress. After I completed the VetsWork program, I was hired into a permanent position with the Natural Resources Conservation Service.