“Mom, I know I made you cry when I was injured, but today I am going to make you smile: I got a job!”

This is the message that U.S. Marine Corps veteran and PVA member Jorge Chirinos had for his mom when he started working again following his injury. 

Jorge, a member of PVA’s Southeastern Chapter, contacted PVA Veterans Career Program in May 2020 through the PVA website. He had just earned his Associate’s Degree in Information Technology and was ready to begin a new career.

PVA Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Genia Hachenberg and Jorge started working on his resume and Genia guided him to a short-term, work from home customer service position where he could gain valuable experience. From there, they looked at other positions where Jorge could move forward in his career. A central tenet of our work with clients is ensuring that veterans are engaging in a position where they can gain experience in a comfortable but challenging environment. They tried a few different positions but none were a great fit or in the IT field that Jorge was most interested in pursuing.

Genia and Jorge continued to network with Veterans Career Program employment partners to find the right fit for the next step in his career. Jorge also enrolled in an online Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) through IVMF’s Onward to Opportunity program and received his certificate in February 2021.

In early March, Genia learned that Cognosante had an opening for a bi-lingual quality analyst supporting a federal contract with their subsidiary company, J.Lodge. The position was part-time and work from home, a great fit for Jorge. Genia reached out to Chris Valdez, Cognasante’s Veteran Recruiting Liaison, and introduced him to Jorge. 

He is eager to advance in the IT field and will use his GI Bill to pursue additional certifications this summer. 

Genia continues to be in touch with Jorge to assist with any necessary job accommodations and assist him in managing the impact of employment on other benefits, such as Social Security Disability. He is an SSDI Ticket holder and understands those protections, but he is enthusiastic about his career and anticipates building a strong financial future.

Jorge is excited about his career opportunities and grateful for the assistance he received from the Veterans Career Program. He has been sharing information about the program with other veterans. “I want to thank the Veterans Career Program for the help and dedication during this process. My family is very proud and I’m golden!”