Sometimes soldiers who give their best to our country return from active duty abroad to face a new kind of challenge at home, that of finding gainful employment. Palatka resident and First Coast Technical College student, Jamie Edwards served a 2007-2008 tour in Iraq to return home with hopes of finding a job.
“Combat engineer skills do not transfer much to the civilian world,” said Edwards. After several years of minimum wage jobs and now with a 3 year old son to support, in March 2013, Edwards enrolled in FCTC’s Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating Technology program in Palatka, using the post 9/11 GI Bill. This program pays for tuition plus an additional stipend to the veteran.
“People in Florida cannot live without air conditioning and refrigeration,” Edwards stated. “I enjoy tinkering with equipment, so I chose to expand my skills in the HVAC industry to become employable.”
“In Iraq we worked quickly and did our jobs well,” Edwards continued. “These principals apply to the HVAC industry too. Customers want service quickly and efficiently.”