MGM Resorts "Boots to Business" program allows veterans to train and obtain jobs in the hospitality industry.
Former Navy linguist Jonathan Wei is on his way to a job with the company.
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -
Unemployment figures are high in Nevada and across the nation for everyone. For veterans, it's even higher.
Nationally, the unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans is 9.5 percent.
For those 24 and younger, it's a staggering 29 percent.
Enter MGM Resorts International and the Red Cross, and a program called Boots To Business, turning America's finest soldiers into Las Vegas' finest hospitality workers.
For Jonathan Wei, finding work after serving six years of active duty has been a struggle.
The Durango High School graduate and former Navy linguist has spent two years looking for a post-military job.
"I found nothing," Wei said. "I got very few call backs and I think I had one interview."
Then he heard about a new program called Boots to Business.
Designed by the Red Cross and MGM Resorts International, it utilizes the leadership skills that veterans learn in the military and redirects it in management training in the hospitality and gaming industry.
"The 10-week training program consists of classroom facilitation, on-the-job training, leadership coaching, and then each of them are paired up with a mentor," said Cassie Anderson, leadership development manager at MGM Resorts International.
The training is department specific in all areas of the MGM operation.
Wei is going to be a front desk supervisor.
"I actually felt very honored to have the opportunity, and once I saw the type of training they were putting us through and got to experience it, I felt even more honored and grateful for the opportunity," Wei said.
After graduating, the veterans are guaranteed a management-level job at an MGM property.
"Great pay, great benefits," Wei said. "I couldn't ask for more."
The first graduating class of the Boots To Business program takes place on Sept. 10.
Ten veterans will then have full-time employment at a MGM Resorts International property in Las Vegas.
The program plans on starting a new class later this year or in the first part of 2013.
If you'd like more information on applying, call the Red Cross at (702) 369-3038.
Copyright 2012 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
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