Hiring For Heroes job fair tailored for veterans

Hundreds of veterans crowd AT&T Center for job fair

SAN ANTONIO - The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Recruit Military held a Hiring For Heroes job fair at the AT&T Center Thursday.

The line was out the door as hundred of veterans and their spouses showed up looking for work.

Veterans have an especially hard time when it comes to securing work in the civilian world, experts said.

"The unemployment rate, especially for young veterans, is still above the national average," said Laura Dempsey, director of military spouse programs for Hiring For Heroes of the U.S. Chamber of Chamber of Commerce. "The numbers go up and down, but it hovers somewhere around 13 percent."

The employment disparity likely isn't due to any type of discrimination, Dempsey said.

"Employers are really looking for veterans," Dempsey said. "They're looking for these skills. Both the hard skills they bring and the leadership skills they bring."

One skill that many veterans lack is the ability to adequately sell themselves in the civilian world.

"Veterans come home and they don't know how to talk about themselves," Dempsey said. "They don't know how to really sell themselves to employers."

Air Force veteran Paul Greene knows all too well the problems of finding a job.

"Your safety net is gone. Your sense of community is gone, and now you are just thrown in the deep end and expected to find your way through," Greene said. "And its something that you are really not trained or prepared to do."

U.S. Army veteran Robert Stitham has the same problem.

"I joined when I was 17, and (now) I'm 25, so I've never had to search for a job," Stitham said. "I just wanted to go to Iraq initially and they took me. It's pretty tough."

Recruiters at the job fair are trained on how to interact with veterans in a way that allows them to put their best foot forward and make themselves attractive to employers.

The job fair isn't the only opportunity for local veterans to receive job-seeking assistance. For more information, visit the Hiring Our Heroes web site.


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