FLATIRON — Anthony Morvillo had his entire career mapped out.
He was going to springboard from his training as a canine handler in the Army to a 20-year military career. When he retired from the army, Morvillo planned to join the NYPD and had visions of patrolling New York City’s transit stations with his expertly trained dogs.
But that's not how life worked out for Morvillo, who suffered injuries in Afghanistan that cut his military career short and made joining the NYPD an impossibility.
Instead, he now works with other vets, helping them find jobs once their military service has ended. Morvillo is the manager of the newly opened Workforce1 Veterans Career Center on Madison Avenue between East 26th and 27th streets in Manhattan.
“I just now feel the need to go ahead and continue my mission of taking care of troops by taking care of veterans,” Morvillo said.
“In the military we live by a motto, a credo, that says we’ll never leave somebody behind. And we’re not going to do that now.”
Morvillo helped cut the ribbon of the new center at a Tuesday press conference with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who touted the Workforce1 center in the Flatiron district as the first career center in the country with a staff and a clientele comprised solely of veterans.
“America’s veterans have put their lives on the line to uphold the freedoms that make our nation the world’s greatest,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “We can never fully repay the debt we owe them, but we can make sure they have the support they need when they return to civilian life, including the jobs they deserve.”
Bloomberg said there are currently more than 8,600 unemployed veterans in New York City.
“That’s 8,600 too many, so we’re working as hard as we can to reduce that number,” Bloomberg added.
In 2011, Workforce1, which operates 15 other career assistance centers throughout the five boroughs, helped more than 800 veterans find jobs.
For 2012, Bloomberg said the goal is to increase that number by more than 50 percent by offering job training, access to education opportunities, resume development, interview preparation and connections to employers committed to hiring veterans.
“It’s one thing to say we support our troops when they’re abroad,” said Quinn, whose father served in the Navy during World War II. “But to really mean that, we need to make sure that we help them when they return.”