They fought for our country overseas, but like many other Americansmilitary veterans are also fighting to find a job here at home.
Today, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosted a Hiring Our Heroesjob fair at Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica.
Hundreds of veterans came out today ready to network witharea employers in Central New York and hand out their resumes hoping to get acall back.
“I served from 1979 to 1985. I got out just before the PersianGulf War,” said Paulette Brown-Hiathcox.
Everyone had a story to tell.
“I served just under two years. I trained as a cook andwound up as an administrative specialist,” said Douglas Berry.
But, many were at Mohawk Valley Community College in Uticatoday all with the same mission.
“I’m trying to remain confident and positive. This job fairis a big thing for me because you can network with a lot of people,” said BrownHiathcox.
Over sixty area employers are working to hire veterans takingpart in a nationwide initiative to help veterans and their spouses find a job.
It’s called Hiring Our Heroes launched by the U.S. Chamberof Commerce in 2011. And their goal is to help hire half a million vets by theend of 2014.
51-year-old Paulette Brown-Hiathcox says she went back toschool to get her bachelor’s degree to better her chances at landing a job.
She says, like any other job seeker, it’s been difficult tofind employment these days.
Yet, Paulette thinks it’s even harder for vets.
“Things we might have gone through… they have a lot of stuffto deal with emotionally and mentally which might hamper them to go right intothe job force,”
23-year-old Kristopher Hummel of Camden says it’s a wholedifferent problem for him and other young vets getting involved in the militaryright out of high school.
“Were competing against other people that went tocollege and older vets who have been out of the military for quite some time.They went to college and have work experience so it looks better on theirresume,” said Hummel.
Kristopher says he would like to go back to school. But, hesays right now his number one priority is putting food on the table for hisfamily.
Since the launch Hiring Our Heroes has helped more than ninethousand veterans and military spouses find jobs.
If you missed today’s job fair you can find a list of futurejob fairs scheduled here: