Veteran Central: A Facebook For Veterans

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VETERANS
Welcome home: Veteran Central, a new startup, seeks to provide resources and advice for veterans returning home from the battlefield. | Getty

For soldiers returning home from the battlefield, settling back in to civilian life can be nearly as treacherous. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, veterans of recent wars are more likely to be unemployed than the general population, in addition to dealing with mental and physical health and family issues. But a new startup, called Veteran Central, hopes to make the transition a little easier.

Fed up with the outdated information and technology on government sites, two civilians have created the site as a resource for veterans to find current programs and job postings and solicit advice from the military community.

"I realized that there were three important veteran issues that weren’t really being dealt with by any kind of website," co-founder Paul McDonald said in an interview with The Washington Post. McDonald, who holds a doctorate in neuroscience, discovered the void while doing research for the Pentagon on post-traumatic stress and brain injuries.

McDonald and co-founder Jonathon Lunardi, a former product manager for education company Blackboard, are aiming to create a site that provides social reintegration, mental health resources and a reliable jobs forum.

What makes Veteran Central unique is that the site's content is generated by fellow veterans, military advocates and reputable doctors who volunteer their time and advice.

The webite, which is best described as "warriors helping warriors," according to Lunardi, also offers unique tools including a digital resume generator and a live chat, where veterans can ask questions about work, health or home life and be answered on the spot by trained staff and free counselors.

The startup, which is backed by Endeavor DC, is completely free and is now open to the public in beta form.

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