As a veteran who coaches other veterans daily, Alfredo Torres has a firsthand understanding of the challenges of transitioning from military to civilian life, the difficulties in finding a new career, and the emotional distress that can come with adjusting to these major life events. Helping veterans in need is his passion.
“What I enjoy most about helping other veterans is helping them avoid the pitfalls that I endured during my difficult transition,” he says. “My arrogance and naivety made me blind to the difficulties of the transition process and the stress that accompanies it. As I coach them through this difficult time, it reminds me of what I went through and makes me that much more determined to make sure they don’t have to endure that pain.”
Torres served 13 years of active duty in the Navy and now works for the Virginia Department of Veteran Services as a regional transition coordinator and a candidate coordinator for the Hire Vets Now Fellowship Program (HVNFP), Virginia’s Skillbridge, a Department of Defense (DOD) program for transitioning service members. He also volunteers for Vets2Industry, an organization focused on providing resources for military service members and their families. He is a mentor for the veteran-focused volunteer site Veterati.
Torres received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Siena College before enlisting in the Navy. He earned a second bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s in life span and digital communications from Old Dominion University.
He admits that he wasn’t certain what sort of work he wanted to do until he was 50, and his career path has taken a somewhat circuitous route.
“I’ve tried all sorts of things during my working life,” he says. Over the years, Torres has worked as a radio DJ, an Emergency Medical Technician, an academic advisor, stage manager, blogger, podcast host, military admissions advisor, shipboard instructor, adjunct professor, and provided security for various clubs and bars, among other positions.
“During my time as a military admissions advisor, I realized I have always wanted to help military service members with their future careers,” he says. “In hindsight, I realized that I had been doing this during my 13 years as a career counselor while I was in the Navy.”
Today, he works with regional partners to develop workforce initiatives and is devoted to helping others achieve their goals by finding opportunities for training, networking, apprenticeships, internships, and careers.
Earning the GCDF credential has helped him along his journey, he says.
“The GCDF has allowed me the ability to help others map out their goals clearly and decisively. It provided me the knowledge to help military transitioning service members navigate the difficult transition process, avoiding common distractions and pitfalls while focusing on what their true strengths are and where their passion lies.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound impacts on employment and substantially increased the need for career coaching, Torres says.
“I believe the pandemic has opened up a staggering number of incredible opportunities for anyone wanting to change careers,” he says. “There has never been a better time for people wanting to explore new certifications and reinvent themselves by changing fields. These opportunities have led to an immense need for certified professionals that are well-equipped with the tools to assist others in finding those careers.”
His career is rewarding, and he’s reached many gratifying milestones over the years.
“The development of the Hire Vets Now Fellowship Program (HVNFP) is one of my career highlights,” he says. “As the first statewide Skillbridge program, the HVNFP acts as an umbrella program for Virginia Values Veterans (V3) certified companies. With 40 companies currently participating and over 1,400 companies eligible to participate, the HVNFP has been on the cutting edge of the Skillbridge program since its development.”
When he’s not working or volunteering, Torres continues adding to his collection of over 4,100 record albums, including many that are rare and hard to find. He also loves karaoke and has sung in 38 U.S. states and 12 countries so far. His goal is to sing in all 50 states and at least 15 countries.
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