For Veterans, a Hire-On-the-Spot Job Fair in Bethesda

Air Force Veteran Lisa Buttino today became JP Morgan’s newest employee.

“A recruiter came over and asked me when I could start and I couldn’t even believe it but it happened,” Buttino said today, “And I’m very excited about it.”

Buttino was one of the more than one thousand people to attend a job fair today exclusively for military veterans and their spouses at the Naval Support Activity Bethesda in Bethesda, Maryland.

Representatives from over twenty-five of the nation’s most well-known companies like Cisco, JP Morgan, Delta and Merck came out to look for veterans to add to their payrolls.

But today’s event was not just a job and recruiting fair. It was a hiring fair.

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.

Today was a start. JP Morgan filled over five new positions, 7-11 Corporate expects to fill numerous, and Orbis hired at least one – all on the spot at the event today.

“They bring phenomenal leadership skills, “Edward Dunn of JP Morgan Chase & CO said today of hiring veterans, “They know the importance of loyalty as it relates to how to work in an organization. They understand specifically what it takes to get the job done. They have the attributes and skills any employer would want."

Those skills scored Trenise Brown, a military spouse, a new job today as well. She starts her new job on Monday.

“He said you are the person that I’ve been looking for,” Brown said at the job fair today, “It brought tears to my eyes that I didn’t have to wait for – I didn’t have to stay off work and have to look for different positions.

Among veterans the unemployment rate is staggering – at 13%, well above the national average.

Today’s event has importance, organizers say, beyond just giving back to those who have served the nation.

“What these companies are certainly helping these veterans understand is how their skills and talents translate out in the private sector,” Frederick Kass, Commanding Officer of Naval Support Activity, Bethesda said today. “While the department of defense might be known for aviators and special opts and all those cool military things we have a tremendous infrastructure support. We have people who understand finance and supply, we have medical people, you name it."

That match came today for Bernard Chichester, who served in the Army and the Air Force Reserve. He came to today’s event specifically to speak to Delta representatives at the fair.

“I’m trying to find a job working on an aircraft,” Chichester said, “I feel pretty good, based on what I’m hearing everything looks positive right now.”

Ronald Mitchell, a veteran of the US Army had two jobs offers today.

“I’m humbled and I’m grateful,” he said today, “we fought for our country for hundreds of years so I think America should fight for veterans.”