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Veteran takes position at county's One-Stop Job Center

August 07, 2007|By MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN - When James Marchinke first learned of the opening for a veterans representative at the Washington County One-Stop Job Center, he wasn't going to let distance stand in his way.

"I did my interview over the phone ... from Baghdad," Marchinke said.

A retired veteran with four years in the Marines and 16 1/2 years in the U.S. Army, Marchinke was working in Iraq as a civilian contractor in charge of generator maintenance for the Army when he got an e-mail about the job.

No stranger to working for the State of Maryland, Marchinke, 45, had been a counselor for the Department of Juvenile Services in Cumberland, Md.

A graduate of Trinity University in North Dakota, he holds a bachelor's degree in administration with a major in human resource management.

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He and his wife, Zelda, and their three sons live in Cumberland.

Marchinke's title is veterans representative for the Disabled Veterans Outreach Program at the job center at 14 N. Potomac St. in Hagerstown.

On the job since July 11, he has already seen 60 veterans who have come in for help getting employment. Nine have found jobs, he said.

"We are letting employers and other agencies know that Jim is here," said Suzette Snyder, job center supervisor.

Finding jobs for veterans is a top priority. But Marchinke added that he wants to establish an information flow to veterans on a wide variety of subjects.

"A lot of vets don't realize what benefits they have," he said. "We also talk about what they need."

Any veteran with at least 180 days of active service is eligible for the job center programs.

Discussions about disability benefits, lost discharge papers and other such matters can be addressed for any veteran of any age and time of service, Marchinke said.

The Web site for information on benefits is www.mwejobs.com.

Marchinke said he is fully prepared to offer training benefits, either in the same field the veteran was in or in a different field with transferable skills.

"We especially want employers to know they can count on a vet to be punctual and work as a part of a team - these are everyday events to a veteran," Marchinke said.

A veterans seminar on filling out applications and preparing for job interviews is planned for Thursday, Aug. 23, from 1 to 3 p.m.

Veterans already in the system at the job center will get an invitation, Snyder said.

Others wishing to sign up may call 301-393-8221 or e-mail jmarchinke@dllr.state.md.us.

"I'm also available for briefings at VFWs or American Legions or other organizations involved with veterans," Marchinke said.

Jobs are the goal, not just because his clients are veterans but because they make good employees, Marchinke stressed.

To find out more about the Washington County One-Stop Job Center and the veterans program, contact Marchinke at 301-393-8221 or visit the Web site at www.mwejobs.com.

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