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‘Boots To Suits’ Helps Vets Transition Into Business World

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) – They serve our nation proudly, which makes it even sadder that so many veterans have trouble finding a job when they transition to civilian life.

CBS4’s Gloria Neal has been following University of Colorado Denver’s Boots to Suits program since the start of the year, and it is becoming a big success.

“I’m excited, I’m ready, I feel overdue. I feel I’m getting out into the work field late for people my age,” Boots to Suits graduate Sean Sullivan said. “But I feel like I’m ahead of the game as far as anyone else coming in to interview around me.”

Sullivan is currently interning at CBS4 in video production.

“We approached Brooks Brothers about being a partner in this for us and they have just been terrific,” said Leanna Clark, Marketing and Community Engagement Vice Chancellor at CU-Denver. “They have been outfitting members of the military since the Civil War, so they were a perfect fit.”

Brooks Brothers is the final step for graduating vets who shop for a suit with their mentors.

“Now, to see how far he’s come in such a relatively short time; his confidence level, his connections. He was saying to me, ‘Thanks for everything you’ve done for me.’ And I keep saying, ‘You did this for you,’ ” CBS4 News Director Tim Wieland said of Sullivan.

One challenge is helping vets translate what they’ve done in the military into the business world.

“This is a guy who dealt, at one point, training with nuclear and biological warfare. You’re going to be fine with a 5 p.m. news deadline,” Wieland said. “So, I know it can raise hairs, but this is a guy who has performed under pressure.”

Cameron Cook is a former Marine with Veteran Student Services at CU-Denver.

“Seeing them develop, that’s my favorite thing, is seeing them develop when they first come. There’s the transition from (military) to college,” Cook said. “And then watching from that transition all the way to this point to where they’re ready to go out, they’re confident, they’re prepared … ready to take it to the next level.”

“Boots to Suits has just been the culmination of my last four years out of the service, and just to show everyone that it can be done,” Sullivan said. “A lot of guys are very negative when they get out and very doubtful … they’re very discouraged … I’m just ready to pay it forward.”

Boots to Suits is just for CU-Denver students right now. However, they are looking to expand the program down the road.

LINK: Boot to Suits

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