Gov. Martinez announces 'Project Soundstage' to help vets

Posted at: 08/01/2013 5:39 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Gov. Susana Martinez has launched a new effort to help military veterans find jobs in New Mexico’s movie and TV industry. She calls it “Operation Soundstage” and she unveiled it at the National Guard  Armory in Albuquerque Thursday afternoon.

“I have always believed that our military – our veterans – do not belong in the unemployment line,” Martinez told a cheering audience that included a few veterans who are already working in the industry.

“I started with Breaking Bad,” said veteran Eliott Davis. “When I came home though, I was home for about a year and a half, struggling job-wise. I was working three different jobs. My cousin finally called to introduce me to the film industry. Called to offer me a job he lined up.”

The idea behind “Operation Soundstage” is to make that process easier for veterans, mainly through the New Mexico Film Office and it’s financing of training jobs on each production shot in the state. People in the industry say the welcome mat is out.

“We have some really talented people in our armed forces,” said film location manager Chris Baugh. “They deserve respect and they deserve to be treated well and they deserve a job and I’m happy to be a part of that.”

The Film Office will work with the Military Affairs and Workforce Solutions departments to hook up veterans who are interested in the opportunity.

Right now the national unemployment rate among veterans 18-24 is 20.5 percent, nearly three times the overall unemployment rate of 7.6 percent.