Veterans Line Up At Tulsa Event Center For Hiring Our Heroes Job Fair
TULSA, Oklahoma - Half-a-million veterans hired by 2014--that's the goal of a nationwide program putting our military members and their spouses to work.
In two years, Hiring Our Heroes had held nearly 600 job fairs across the nation, helping veterans, serving in Vietnam to Afghanistan, with resume writing, interviewing tips, and putting them in touch with employers.
Wednesday, the job fair program run by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, came to the Tulsa Event Center to help Green Country veterans get hired.
Dozens of employers, including banks, retail stores, and law enforcement agencies, lined up hoping to snag the skill set and work ethic ingrained in a member of the armed services.
"I've been to a couple of different job fairs, and man, it's nothing like this," said Rickey Foster.
Foster was in the Air Force for eight years. He used to work at Hostess until they closed their doors last December.
"I went there right after I got out of the service, was there 21 years, and the job market has changed since I've been out," he said.
But an unsteady job market can be just the beginning of obstacles for a military member that has recently returned home.
"You speak a different language, you're used to speaking in military terms," said Oklahoma Army National Guard Corporal Jesse Graham. "You need someone who can put those terms into something that civilian employers can understand."
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says there are some 22 million unemployed veterans across the nation and 21 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans between the ages of 18 and 24 are unemployed. Compare that to 16 percent for non-veterans in the same age group.
"Its just hard to find that job that clicks with you," said Joshua Seilhymer.
Seilhymer was one of the more than 120 veterans taking advantage of the job fair. He worked on a nuclear submarine.
"It's pretty versatile, it teaches you to learn fast and learn well, so a lot of people like the learn well part," he said.
It's skill sets like Seilhymer's that's helped Hiring Our Heroes find more than 90,000 veterans find work, so far. They have pledges from more than 800 businesses for another quarter-million hires in the coming years.
Some of the employers we talked to said these fairs don't guarantee a job, but they do move veterans to a top tier in the hiring process.