On Monday, August 18, Senator Chris Coons, Senator Tom Carper and Congressman John Carney sponsored a Veteran’s Job Fair at the Carlisle Fire Company in Milford. Veterans and their families were able to speak with representatives from 39 companies that are hiring throughout Kent and Sussex County. The job fair was held from 10am to 2pm with a wide range of employers being represented, including those with current openings, state agencies, resume assistance companies and educational representatives.
“I am very pleased that my office was able to team up with both senators to bring these job fairs to those who have served our country,” Congressman John Carney said. “So far, I believe we have held more than 20 of these fairs throughout the state, hoping to connect veterans who need jobs with companies who need employees.”
Hundreds of veterans turned out at the event where the legislators made opening comments, then spent time speaking with employers and veterans to seek advice on how they could best help improve the job market throughout the state.
“One of our main goals is to make sure that citizens have jobs that support middle income lifestyles,” Congressman Carney explained. “We ask that you provide advice to us to help your business be more successful. We also need to hear from veterans what we can do to make the transition from military service into full-time employment easier.
Guy Johnson Jr., Employment Transition Coordinator for the Hero2Hired (H2H) program, spoke at length to Congressman Carney about the program created by A-Team Solutions. H2H is a Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program available online to servicemen, veterans and their families.
“We currently have 3.7 million jobs posted on the site,” Mr. Johnson explained. “Veterans simply register at H2H.jobs by filling out four data boxes. Once registered, they can set up their profile, including their Military Occupation Code and other information related to the skills they gained in the military. The system then matches the skills under the MOC to available jobs and connects the service member to a company who is hiring for a position needing those skills.” Mr. Johnson also said that employers can register for the program and seek applicants through the profiles created.
Companies like Dr. Energy Saver displayed a list of positions they currently had available ranging from management to technicians. Dover Downs and Casino had approximately 20 different positions available, from bartender to poker dealer and technicians. There were also representatives from veteran support agencies who work with current and former military members to connect them with positions while also offering them advice on their rights as National Guard and Reserve members.
“When an employer hires a veteran, they know they get someone who walks in the door with good job skills,” Senator Coons said. “They know how to show up on time, how to complete difficult tasks and how to work hard. Hiring a veteran is an investment in our country.” Senator Coons told employers in attendance to discuss with the veterans how the skills they learned while serving the country were beneficial to an employer as well.
Senator Carper said that when he returned from Vietnam, veterans were given $250 a month under the G.I.Bill. Today, soldiers who have served three years are eligible for full tuition and housing allowances to help them further their education.
“When I was 17 years old, I took an oath to serve my country in the Navy,” Senator Carper said. “Because of that service, I was able to attend college and graduate school. The Navy has been good to me, and it gives me great joy to sponsor job fairs like these so that I can give back to other veterans the benefits that I received. Our goal is that one day we will set up a job fair like this one and employers will be sitting there with no one to talk to because every veteran already has a job.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 722,000 unemployed veterans in the United States and 60 percent of those were aged 45 and over. Delaware had one of the lowest rates of unemployed veterans in the country in 2013 at less than four percent. Delaware’s Congressional Delegation will sponsor another job fair at the Middletown Memorial Fire Hall on August 25, 2014 from 10am until 2pm.