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Suits for Soldiers: Business clothes for veterans seeking new careers

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — Local veterans looking for a new job are trading in their uniforms for business suits.   

The transitioning veterans were able to pick out business attire at the San Diego Veterans Job Fair on Thursday.     

It was all made possible by the organization Suits for Soldiers. 

The scene was not what you'd expect to find at a job fair: suit jackets, pants and ties -even dresses - all for free. 

That's exactly what veterans were treated to at the Scottish Rite Center in Mission Valley.   

The program Suits for Soldiers is a campaign started by Farmers Insurance in the fall of 2016 - collecting donations nationwide. 

"We launched Suits for Soldiers with the goal of collecting about 50,000 suits nationally, and we exceeded that goal collecting 70,000 in total," said Carly Kraft from Farmers Insurance. 

The goal is to help make the transition from military to civilian life a bit easier. 

According to the Department of Defense, more than one million military personnel will do so over the next couple years. 

Navy veteran Jeff Weiler is hoping for a new career in the financial services industry.  

"Being a corpsman in the military, I was able to help Marines in the battlefield, and now I'd like to help different families at home," said Weiler. 

Now equipped with a new suit, Weiler said he feels more confident, which is key when trying to land a job 

"I feel amazing," he said. "I feel like a real person again." 

Navy veteran Alfred Ibey feels the same way. 

He said when you're used to a military uniform for so long, it's tough to know where to start. 

"The way you look dictates if they want to talk to you more, so this sets you up a little bit better," Ibey said.  

Farmers Insurance was also recruiting employees at the job fair. 

If you'd like to donate a suit or get one for yourself, contact your local Farmers Insurance office. 

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