On a recent interview by Pearl’s CEO, Merry Korn, with three transitioning Veteran employees performing Tier 1 Help Desk support on Pearl’s subcontract with GDIT supporting the Veteran Affairs Enterprise Service Desk contract, the Veterans shared a combination of appreciation and relief for how Pearl’s part-time positions smoothed their transition from active duty to life as a civilian.
Leni was a Cryptologic Linguist and noncommissioned officer for the US Army. During Leni’s military service she served as a mission supervisor and flight instructor. While the skills Leni acquired in the military were beyond impressive, upon returning to life as a civilian, she was suddenly thrust into the role of caregiver for both her husband and son who were both addressing serious health issues. As her family began to medically stabilize, Leni was stunned by the insurmountable challenges of finding employment. After submitting hundreds of applications with little or no response, she was at a loss and felt that the skills and expertise she developed through the military were of no use. When Pearl offered Leni the Tier 1 support position after months of a laborious and frustrating job search, Leni was elated. “I feel I learn every day. I feel supported by a supervisor that keeps me constantly apprised of expectations and how I am performing. Best of all, the part-time position with Pearl enables me to have a balance between my work and still being present for my family.”
Mitchel, a retired senior Airman with the Air Force, shared that during his service he was a firefighter. Unfortunately, he sustained a painful injury leading to a medical discharge. Coupled with crippling pain from the injury, he suffered emotionally as he felt he was a disappointment to everyone in his life. The physical and emotional injuries were exacerbated by losing his job that was no longer open upon return. After 5 months of relentlessly posting for entry level positions, Mitchel heard that Pearl was searching for Tier 1 Help Desk support through a friend, and he applied to become part of the team. Mitchel enjoys “the team comradery of Pearl and the opportunity to feel needed and useful.” He takes great pride in sharing that he won second place in the Pearl Walk-a-thon competition where he totaled over 68 miles during the company-wide virtual competition.
Carmen dedicated 21 years as a Logistics Distribution Manager for food service with the US Army. After 2 tours in Iraq and 2 tours in Afghanistan and sustaining an injury resulting in a 100% disability rating, he retired. Upon his return to the States, Carmen needed a job to support his family. Like Leni and Mitchel, Carmen experienced the excruciating exercise of trying to land a job that could financially sustain him until his benefits kicked in. “After returning from my final tour of duty, I felt like I was out on an island. Once I no longer wore the uniform, I felt like I did not matter.” Carmen has been fully engaged with Pearl on the Enterprise Service Desk program and shared: “I love my job with Pearl. I found that I have a natural gift for both communicating with people and IT. Best of all, this part-time position lets me make up for the lost time with my family.”
When asked where Leni and Carmen see their future, both said they would like to continue to stay with Pearl and grow with the company. Mitchel plans to complete his degree in criminal justice and become a police officer.
Pearl Interactive Network, Inc., a government contact center provider, is a for profit social enterprise founded in 2004 that gives hiring priority to a niche workforce of people with barriers to work. Fifty-five percent of Pearl associates are living in economically challenged areas, people with disabilities, military spouses, and Veterans. Today Pearl employs over 1,000 associates located across twenty-nine states.
Merry Korn, MSW
VP Business Development
(Veteran names have been changed to protect their privacy)