It is with great pleasure to introduce this week’s Veteran of the Week: Specialist Joshuah Chrisman of the United States Army. Joshuah was born in Oklahoma but raised in Georgia, just south of Atlanta. He currently works at American Corporate Partners (ACP), has a beautiful family and a bright future in front of him. Joshuah will tell you that his military career was just fine but, unfortunately, his transition back to civilian life was difficult. Fortunately, his current career has improved his life overall. He credits his accomplishments so far on, “taking that opportunity” that many would not.
Like most Veterans, Joshuah joined the service straight out of high school mainly from feeling that there was little to look forward too if he stayed home. Describing his experience in the Army was a positive one that he enjoyed. The best part of his military career was being able to travel, even though he witnessed the horrors of poverty in third world countries, he is grateful for having his knowledge of the world expanded upon. This experience he carries as a reminder and perhaps one that molded his characteristics.
Joshuah spent five year’s active duty from 2003 to 2008 in the Army and three additional years in the National Guard from 2010 to 2013. In that time, he was transferred to different stations; spent his longest time with the unit he was affiliated with in Fort Stewart, Georgia. With a Military Occupation Specialty in Communications he was attached with Supply and Cavalry units. In addition to this, he has two deployments under his belt, each lasting a year or longer in Iraq both in the beginning of the war and mid-way through.
Happy with his service, Joshuah’s next step was moving to the big city, New York. He didn’t know anyone and had no support system in place. The move resulted in a two-year struggle, facing adversities such as sleeping in his car, eviction and working multiple odd jobs. One of the reasons he struggled was because he did not have a college education so he was ignored in the job market.
Once he decided to jump into college in 2010 he welcomed the stability of the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill. Getting his Bachelors in History in 2014, then working on his Masters in Urban Affairs, he soon met his wife and started a family. In 2014, he became a Claims Adjuster Case Manager for an insurance company. After graduating he knew he wanted to join the nonprofit sector but did not expect to have a career that was Veteran orientated. This changed when he came across ACP, which seemed like the right fit.
In joining ACP Joshuah had two interviews, first with the Founder and President then a second one with five different managers. Since he did not have any corporate background, he was sure that he would not get a call back after the first interview. Fortunately taking that opportunity paid off; they welcomed him to their office in June of 2015. He believes that being a Veteran gave him a leg up but credits his previous employment in giving him the skills for his new occupation.
Joshuah is an ACP employee but still took the opportunity to get a first-hand experience in the program they offered because he did not have a background in outreach, which was a critical part of the new position. For his mentorship, he partnered with an oncology nurse to get experience in community work. Joshuah started as an Operations Associate and then after 18 months was elevated to Team Lead which is the same as 1st Line Supervisor. His team consist of five individuals and himself being the only Veteran.
When asked why he continued to struggle in New York City when he could have simply moved back home, Joshuah replied, “I always wanted to be in New York but never had the chance until the Army. I took that opportunity.” Looking back, he is glad he was single during the service; believes deployments are harder with a family, “When I was in Iraq, I was only in Iraq.” he said. Now Joshuah has a career, three beautiful kids and lives in Long Island.
ACP is comprised of approximately thirty employees that include Veterans and a former Israeli Army Veteran. Joshuah and his team duties include trying to recruit Veterans into their mentorship program which partners a Veteran with an individual who is in an established career field they are seeking to jump into. His team focuses their efforts at Colleges and Universities, but they’re a national organization and hold multiple events throughout the year.