Today’s job fair, exclusively for veterans, was more of a hiring fair.
Many veterans who showed up at the Naval Support Activity Bethesda in Bethesda, Maryland this morning left with a brand new job.
“Honestly it happened so fast it hasn’t really sunk in yet,” veteran Simon Clough said this morning after being hired within an hour for his first civilian job as a security officer at the Fairfax City courthouse. “It feels pretty good, you know, finally having employment.”
Not all out of the 1,000 job seekers who came out were as lucky as Clough today. But many scored interviews and information from some of the nation’s top companies, like JP Morgan, Hostess Brands and Cisco, among the more than 40 companies at the job fair today.
Employers say that hiring veterans is more than just giving back to those who have served the nation. They say that veterans make some of the best workers and bring a disciplined skillset so desired in the corporate setting.
“It’s important for us because they have very strong work ethic,” Mike Tassle of Hostess Brands said of veterans today at the fair as he was in search for new employees, “They follow policies, they lead others, big on teamwork and that’s really the kind of personality traits that we typically look for.”
The “100,000 Jobs Mission Hiring Event,” aimed at hiring 100,000 veterans by 2020, teamed up broadly with the national campaign led by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden’s “Joining Forces," to increase employment among the nation's veterans.
There were over 2,000 jobs ready to be handed out today among the companies.
“We’ll interview them, we can have them apply online directly and we can go so far as to generate an offer today,” Tassle said, “And then it’s just a matter of filling out the paper work, getting them though the background screen and they can effectively start.”
That fresh start, for most veterans, is just what is needed. The unemployment rate among veterans is well above the national average, at 13%.
“The economy is hard, it’s hard to find a job,” Melody Deleon, a 13-year veteran and current job seeker said today, “Especially when you just come out of the military. So this is a great opportunity.”
These companies, many with veterans in their recruitment teams, will help translate military in-the-field training to on-the-job civilian skills.
“It really is an honor and a privilege to come to some place where we are in the spotlight,” says Shalln Santana, who just got back from a deployment in the Middle East, “These companies taking time out to really say ‘we appreciate you, your experience, we take notice and we want to hire you.’”
And after numerous deployments, these veterans say, those words are the perfect way to say, “Welcome home.”