Vets Look For Work At BA Fair

Thursday, October 28th 2010, 5:45 pm
By: News On 6

Chris Wright, News On 6

BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma -- The economy will be at the forefront of many voters' minds when they head to the polls next week.

Some are struggling more than others to make ends meet. Veterans are returning home to a job market without many openings.

Northeastern State University in Broken Arrow held a Veterans Job Fair Thursday. The school wants to help vets who are struggling to adjust to life outside of the military.

Veterans like Emmitt Roberts, who went back to college after he left the Navy. He graduated earlier this year, but has struggled to find full-time work as a graphic artist.

"It's disappointing and depressing sometimes," Roberts said. "I'm just hoping that eventually the economy will turn around."

The job fair featured more than 100 booths set up by private businesses and local schools. NSU says it wanted to host an event that would help vets transition into the next stage of their lives.

"They've given in many cases their family life, time, and put themselves at risk for us. How do we create opportunities for them to be successful now that they've returned home?" said Don Betz, NSU President.

It's a daunting task. The Department of Labor says there are more than 1.1 million unemployed veterans. Many Americans are struggling to find work, but the numbers are even more bleak for vets.

Nationwide, the unemployment rate remains stuck at 9.6 percent, but for young veterans between 19 and 24 years old, it's 19 percent.

"The most deserving group of people, the people that ought to have an employment opportunity are the ones that we're looking over," said Donald Nichols, Military Order of the Purple Heart.

Emmitt Roberts remains confident he will be able to put his graphic design degree to use. He survived the Navy, so he says a frustrating job search is not the toughest thing he's ever endured.

"As long as the sun is shining, there's always hope. There's always a bright day," he said.