Finding a Job After the Military
When CeJae Briscoe helps a homeless veteran find a place to live, she's doing more than her job—she's helping others the way that many people cared for her.
Briscoe joined the U.S. Navy as an intelligence officer in 1998; four years later, she transferred into transportation logistics with the U.S. Air Force. A mother of one at the time, Briscoe left the service when she realized her current job didn't provide suitable daycare hours for her children.
Initially, she stayed with her childrens' father but left him after the relationship turned abusive. For the first time in her life, Briscoe and her children stayed in a homeless shelter. Prior to that experience, she didn't know such shelters existed.
"I had never heard of that before, because growing up, I didn't have to worry about it," she said.
After more than two months at the shelter, Briscoe enrolled in the University of Phoenix through the GI Bill, and there, she earned her bachelor's in business administration and her master's in criminal justice and administration. She took classes in real estate and helped to run a daycare program at an apartment complex. Still, she struggled to find a full-time job, and after she asked around at various support services, she learned about NCWorks.
Briscoe set up a meeting with one of her NCWorks Career Center's veteran specialists, who are trained to assist vets with barriers to employment (such as homelessness). They helped her craft a resume that would grab the attention of employers, and Briscoe was surprised at what she learned during the process.
"They really did everything to help me with that," she said. "It's amazing, the things they came up with, because I would never have thought to do it that way."
In addition to helping with her resume, the specialists regularly followed up with Briscoe to make sure her job search was going well and to see how else they could help her find employment.
"[My specialist] was always asking, ‘Hey, anything else I can do to help?'" she said. "He was very supportive. Often times, all people need is that support group."
The support and advice paid off. Briscoe was hired by Passage Home, a non-profit organization devoted to helping people find homes. Tavenia Williams is the company's veterans program director, and she and Briscoe have worked together to help homeless veterans find places to live. Williams describes Briscoe as a kindhearted person who will do what she can to help people in need.
"As far as the support she's given to all programs, including the vets program to help us house our homeless veterans, she's doing an excellent job," Williams said.
Briscoe has already helped one veteran and one family find places to live. And she's prepared to do the same for whomever walks through the door.
"I can pay forward the blessings people have given me and my children," she said. "It always feels good to do that."