HOUSTON - On McKinney Street just east of downtown Houston, there’s an organization whose mission is to serve those who served our country.
The nonprofit, called NextOp, has been operating since last March. So far, they’ve placed 458 veterans in new jobs in the energy, healthcare and construction industries.
The new careers come with an average salary of about $53,000 a year.
“We’re really proud of the fact that we don’t charge our veterans a fee. We don’t charge our corporate clients a fee. Our job is to take highly qualified veterans, mostly enlisted combat veterans, and get them the best job they can get,” said Doug Foshee, co-founder of NextOp.
“The motto of the Marine Corps is Semper Fidelis, which in Latin means “always faithful," so part of our ethos is to essentially help those that need it the most when they come out,” said John Boerstler, a veteran and executive director Of NextOp.
Boerstler says he knows what it’s like to have “a resume that smells like combat boots.” He expects the number of Houston soldiers in that position to grow.
“3,500 soldiers come home to Houston ever year. With the reduction of force coming the Department of Defense wide, we think that’s going to plus up to 5,000 a year for the next five years,” he said.
NextOp’s work includes helping veterans with their resumes, LinkedIn pages, connecting them to education opportunities, and placing them in an industry they are interested in.
Julian Delgadillo came to the nonprofit for help after spending 10 years in the Air Force as an aircraft technician, welder and machinist.
Now Delgadillo says he has a career he loves.
“I don’t know how to explain it. There’s just something missing," Delgadillo said. "You feel like you don’t have the same relationship with your coworkers that you do when you’re in the military, so to find a career where they understand you, they understand your background, your skill set and what makes you you is very important."
Justin Miles, a combat medic in the Army, had a similar experience.
“(NextOp) got me back in the medical field. For the first time in 10 years, I’m doing what I want to do,” Miles said. “I’m, for the first time, happy in my work ever since I got out of the military.”
Since they don’t take fees from clients or partners, NextOp runs on donations.
For more information, visit NextOp's website.
(© 2016 KHOU)