has written 1 SperlingViews. Currently, Uriel is living in Colorado Springs, CO and has a little something to say:
I'm 32 years old. I was born in in Pittsburgh, PA. Graduated in Niagara Falls, NY, and I am Iraq War army veteran. My favorites hobbies are sports, poker, and cars. I work in Washington DC, but my family and my home temporarily remains in Colorado Springs.
|Uriel 's "data"|
|Life Stage:||Family with Children|
|Location:||Colorado Springs, CO|
|Email:||Contact Uriel via email |
|Uriel 's SperlingView(s)|
Colorado Springs advice for those looking to move Posted On: 3/3/2011 8:36:51 AM
The up front, bottom line, don't. I bought into the idea 3 years ago that Colorado Springs would be a good place for military veterans with a security clearance and an IT background. I figured with the three air force bases and sizable army base, getting a job would not be difficult. I couldn't be more wrong.
Colorado Springs offers good schools, low violent crime, and reasonable real estate. It's close to Denver. The downtown could be better, but it's not bad considering how conservative the area is. Manitou Springs and Colorado City are great little towns situated in the same area. There are lots of outdoor activity opportunities as well. Weather is pleasant, even in the winter, where snow usually quickly melts due to lots of sun and mild temperatures. The good stuff pretty much ends there.
As soon as I moved here, the economy had started shedding jobs at an alarming rate there long before the great recession. The 7 percent unemployment claimed for the pike's peak region is less than accurate, simply because there are plenty of long term unemployed there that have long since gave up looking for work, or had their benefits expire. This also likely explains the disproportionally large amount of homeless (many of those include veterans) in the area considering the size of the city. The job market here is is saturated with veterans who are getting out or retiring here based on long outdated notions (There are still some internet job sites claiming that Colorado Springs has a vibrant job market, which is unfortunate and hasn't been that way since the early to mid 2000s) that Colorado Springs is a good place for transitioning veterans. Again, it is not. It is a terrible place for veterans or anyone else for that matter looking for work. This saturation of too many people and not enough jobs has spilled over into nearby Denver as well. So good luck finding anything there as well. The civilian tech companies (Microsoft, Sun, HP, etc) have long since bailed from the pikes peak region. Government jobs? I have been told by veterans transition counselors in many occasions that there are upwards of 80 people applying to each federal job opening in the state (this was over 3 years ago) and this was at the height of the time when the government was actually trying to hire more people, and even then many of those jobs were in other parts of Colorado.
I had 8 years of IT experience through the army, 2 more years experience in the civilian world, a secret security clearance, and bachelors degree. I found work on an air force defense contract that lost funding after a little over a year. Out of work for a month, I applied for 40-50 jobs a day in the area, and the most I got in terms as replies was a single temp contracting job that lasted all of one month, that had ridiculous requirements and low pay. After this, I simply gave up looking for work in the area. Well, I applied for 5 jobs in the DC metro area, and low-and-behold, three of them got back to me the same day, and within two days after that, the three companies all offered me IT jobs ranging between 100-120K a year, one of which I took. 1 month of looking for work in Colorado Springs to the tune of 40-50 applications a day, and getting next to nothing, vs a single day looking for work across the country with three different offers within the same week. You do the math. Even more disturbing, through linkedin and other people I tried to help find work there; Some of them had more experience than I did, more certifications, had a top secret clearance, and also could not find work in that area. I kept hearing horror story after horror story through friends and knowing myself directly, who all knew someone that was a veteran that was unemployed for several months to over a year.
What makes the economic situation worse there? The job market is very political. Even more-so than in other areas. The "good old boy" system is alive and well there, as well as an overly conservative culture which of course, spills over into the economy. In other words, if you are a veteran, got out as an 0-5 (Lieutenant Colonel) or above, and belong to the "focus on the family" local evangelical mafia or any of the other many mega-churches there, the job search is slightly easier for you. For everyone else, to include veterans and non-veterans with plenty of job experience? Well, sucks to be you. Even thorough networking is not enough to find anything decent here, believe me, I tried, and so have many, many others. Even the lower paying service jobs are hard to get, because many of the veterans out of work have spouses and family (and or members of the aforementioned "focus on the family mafia") which typically fill those jobs, and the companies with those jobs will often write you off as overqualified.
And one final point. I mentioned linkedin before. Out of the 7 people that randomly asked me for advice for them getting a job in the Springs: You know how many actually found work? All of them. In other parts of the country... Colorado Springs becoming a dying town full of religious fanatics, homeless veterans, long term unemployed, and very low paying service jobs. The lovely scenery there hides the fact that this is an awful place to try to find work. Avoid this city at all costs if you hope to find any sort of stable employment. Save yourself the heartache, stress, and frustration and look else-ware if you want to settle down.