Aaron Argo, Weatherization Technician, Veterans Green Jobs
Aaron Argo loves to talk to people – especially while lending someone a hand. That’s why his job providing energy efficiency services to low-income households is such a reward. Aaron landed his job as a weatherization technician thanks to Veterans Green Jobs’ employment program.
As a member of the Colorado National Guard, Aaron trained for seven months with the chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear unit, and is scheduled for deployment to Afghanistan with the 220th Military Police in 2014. Until then, he needs to work, so he attended a National Guard reception drill intended to help service members get oriented to civilian life. There, he met a Veterans Green Jobs career counselor who shared information about the nonprofit’s job opportunities and community service – and after that, Aaron stayed in touch.
“She was more than happy to extend herself, emailing me five times a day with information. I appreciate what she did,” says Aaron, 28.
Aaron’s work history includes being an armored guard, a volunteer firefighter and full-time firefighter with the New Orleans Fire Department. But he wanted to return home to Colorado, where he grew up. Veterans Green Jobs’ counseling services helped streamline the move back. Several job openings were presented, and a weatherization technician job opportunity piqued his interest.
“The counselor tweaked my resume for the specific job I had applied for, offered guidance, described the job to make sure it was suitable for me, and arranged for an interview. She made the transition very smooth and stress-free.” Aaron especially appreciates that he “didn’t have to dig and look for work – especially in this economy.”
The job is a good fit for Aaron’s personality. “I like to help people who can’t help themselves. Our services help people live more comfortably and cleaner. It’s hard work, and it’s physical exercise. Crawling around, blowing insulation in attics… it’s dirty stuff, but it’s a good trade. I learn a lot about homes.”
To help him ease into the job, Aaron was required to enroll in safety classes, complete online training modules and get an introduction to weatherization. He says his military experience laid the groundwork for the discipline he needs to work hard every day. “The military makes you into someone who loves a challenge and is willing to face it and conquer it. It also gives you confidence to talk to anyone.”
After training seven days a week, it was difficult for Aaron to transition back to a Monday through Friday life. Eventually, he’ll return to that lifestyle, because he wants to make a career in the military. But for now, weatherizing homes is a perfect stepping stone. “I’m doing something to serve the state and the country, teaching clients about energy efficiency and how they can save money and help their health and safety.”
It’s easy to come to work now, and I’m giving back at the same time.”