The Colorado Springs area would seem to have a ready-made population of young professionals in its military installations, places teeming with people ages 20 to 44.
Age alone, however, doesn't make someone a young professional.
"In order to become a young professional, you need to be educated, you need to have a skill set essentially, and I think that the military doesn't necessarily provide that," said Dr. Phil Morris, director of the Office of Veteran and Military Student Affairs at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
But they're working on it, Morris said. A transition class at Fort Carson helps soldiers with r?um?writing and school applications, and Colorado Springs is good about giving veterans residency classification for tuition purposes, Morris said.
Last fall, UCCS enrolled about 1,200 veterans with an average age of 30, Morris said. Each semester, Pikes Peak Community College enrolls about 3,500 veterans with an average age of 26, said Cheri Arfsten, PPCC director of military and veterans programs.
There are issues beyond an education that make it difficult to turn a young military population into a vibrant workforce. Young veterans need the support network they had in the military, or they're likely to go back home to the support of family and friends, said Mike Reyes, UCCS military outreach specialist at Fort Carson.
"Coming back to the civilian world - that was horrid," said 39-year-old James Pearson, who served in the Army for 13 years.
Colorado Springs sometimes feels exclusive, and many employers were turned off by his military background, he said.
Reyes also said the city needs more manufacturing jobs if it wants to keep young veterans around. Some soldiers even leave with top-secret clearance.
"That would be our secondary economy," he said. "We'd have them here while they're a soldier, but we have them here when they separate."
Capt. Daniel R. Miller, 33, wants to stay after he leaves Fort Carson this month.
"I think there are options as long as I'm willing to be adaptable and change," he said.