When Kevin Finagle left the Air Force after serving in Afghanistan, he found it tough to get a job.
He didn’t find anything for a year. Then he turned to Veterans Affairs, who set him up with The Learning Center, 777 N. Rainbow Blvd., Suite 150.
Finagle used his GI benefits to train as a computer technician. He was familiar with the work; he once took apart and rebuilt his computer. Without a car, he walked an hour each way to training.
“I’m real fit now,” he said. “It made me lose weight.”
The course was six weeks of classroom instruction, followed by a three-month unpaid internship. Besides vocational training through the VA, The Learning Center offers Purple Heart recipients a 12-day Microsoft Office Suite course (usually $2,595 ) free.
Finagles internship was done at TLC Computer Solutions, 7501 W. Lake Mead Blvd., Suite 112. Owner John Pinchas said he considered hiring Finagle after the 12-hour a week internship was over, but said it would take another six months to get him trained for a technical position that was opening up. So he kept him on over the summer to see how did.
“We knew Kevin was dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder and we knew about his back injury, so he came to us with those issues, which might be a deterrent to hire on a regular basis,” Pinchas said. “… Because he’s put so much effort into the program, we wanted to work with him and bring him into the organization.”
Finagle proved to be a good fit as a back-room technician.
“I think this is the kind of environment that is good for him. It’s small enough we can keep close tabs on him, where in a larger business he might get lost in the shuffle,” Sinchak said.
This Christmas, Finagle became certified and is now gainfully employed at TLC.
Part of the reason, Pinchas admitted, that he was working with The Learning Center was because the program provides a rebate for the veteran’s salary for a few months. Hoffnagle also received an allowance from the VA, covering tools, equipment, clothes and other items he might need during training.
“Since I know what I want to do now, it helps me (increase) my knowledge base,” Hoffnagle said. “To have this program available, it gives you a safety net you can use, even though you have to be a certain percentage disabled to use it. They get you into a (career) you can be good at.”
A fellow worker, Matthew Winter, had nothing but praise for how the Air Force prepared Finagle for approaching any job.
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