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Homebound veteran finds employment success in Alexandria

Returning home from his second deployment in 2010, Sergeant Josh Brummond knew clearing customs would be a major challenge. Instead of slogging through the line and facing unexpected hurdles, however, Brummond sought out the customs agents that could get him and his unit through the line and on their way home more quickly.

According to Brummond, it involved being proactive, finding the right people and relaying that information to other units to speed up the process.

With the customs and demobilization process completed, Brummond, then a nine-year veteran in the Minnesota National Guard, returned home to finish his secondary education. Brummond graduated high school in 2000. He tried several colleges and majors before receiving his associate degree in business management from Alexandria Technical and Community College in 2012.

"Deployments threw a wrench in that one," Brummond said about the time it took him to complete his degree.

Brummond was responsible for millions of dollars in equipment as unit supply specialist during two deployments to Iraq and the completion of his long sought-after degree. With the easy part over, he was ready to face the reality of finding a path to professional success.

"I found employment resources by looking at the Minnesota National Guard's website, which referred me to the WorkForce Center and a DEED rep to work on my résumé," Brummond said. "I thought I had everything I needed in my résumé, but my rep only said, 'That's a good start.'"

Brummon's "rep," Ladeen Schillinger, veteran employment representative for the Department of Employment and Economic Development's Alexandria WorkForce Center, sat down with him and helped translate his military skills into a language understood and appreciated by civilian employers.

"She asked questions, and she clarified things employers might not understand. I gave her a baseline, and from there, I expanded my résumé and got better," Brummond said.

With Schillinger's help, Brummond was able to translate his military skills, find the right job and prepare him for the interview process.

On October 17, Brummond was brought on as a veterans' assistance coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Veterans' Affairs in Alexandria.

Brummond continues to serve with the Minnesota National Guard as a cannon crew member with B Battery, 1st Battalion and 151st Field Artillery (FA).

Brummond enlisted in 2000 with C Battery, 1-151 FA and was deployed with the unit in Iraq from 2004-05 and 2009-10. He and his wife, Karla, live in Alexandria and are expecting their first child in December.