An electrician in Iraq, but not in Queens

Kevin Kirwan veteran
Kevin Kirwan has years of experience controlling complicated Navy logistics, but he is struggling to find a job. (Credit: Miles Dixon)

For the second time in two years, Kevin Kirwan, a logistics specialist for the Navy for 14 years in places like North Africa, can’t find a job.

Kirwan, 37, is one of an estimated 210,000 veterans in the city, many struggling to find employment after years of service.

The City Council met Monday to discuss ways to help them get hired.

According to the Council, the unemployment rate for recent veterans rose from 9.1 percent to 11.7 percent from 2012 to 2013. Meanwhile, the general unemployment rate fell from 8.3 percent to 7.9, percent.

“People who go out to fight for us, that protect our country, deserve the best, and we need to continue to give them the tools that are going to make them viable when they return,” Brooklyn Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez said.

Many vets struggle to translate battlefield experience for civilian jobs. And even if they were trained for jobs that exist in civilian life, they return only to find they are qualified to fix plumbing in Iraq, but not Queens.

To apply for a license, many city jobs require experience in the city or U.S. — meaning overseas military experience does not apply.

“If your work as a plumber or an electrician was good enough for the armed forces, it should be good enough for New York City,” Veterans Committee chair Mathieu Eugene said in the Monday hearing.

Metro profiled Kirwan in a 2011 story. After the article, his experience with logistics and administration landed him a job at Chase, but his project ended in January.

After three months of job fairs, visits to veterans’ help centers and countless applications—and with a 13-month-old son – he is worried about paying the bills.

“It’s frustrating,” he told Metro.

Kirwan is also trained as a safety inspector. Despite those skills, he would likely need local experience to get a job. But the Council bill might streamline skipping that step.

“This will definitely help,” he said, adding, “There’s just not get enough jobs until you get yourself in front of the right manager.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.