Veterans get exclusive access to job fair

December 6, 2012 3:27:22 PM PST
A lot of Americans are struggling to find jobs, but the search can be especially challenging for veterans adjusting to life out of uniform. On Thursday, they took a step forward at a job fair with employers looking for their unique skills.

With resumes in hand, veterans introduced themselves to dozens of companies, hoping one might become their next employer.

"It's very hard to find a company that will deal with you especially coming out of the military," Army veteran Elizabeth Ortega said.

More than 700 veterans and their spouses attended Thursday's job fair at Minute Maid Park. Unlike other job fairs, they say events designed for veterans help them translate their military skills into civilian terms. There are also workshops on writing a resume and preparing for an interview.

"All those things they didn't really have to do in the military 'cause you were a uniform every day. So you forget how to dress, how to interview," said Virginia Carpenter with Western Regional Associate.

Ortega was an administrative specialist in the U.S. Army for eight years. She says she suffered a back injury while in uniform, and companies sometimes discriminate against veterans with disabilities.

"They look at you like no, you're no good or they don't want to give you a chance. So these companies have actually offered that opportunity," Ortega said.

On Thursday, she found more than 60 companies specifically looking for veterans. The companies say veterans bring team building and leadership skills and an ability to adapt.

As veterans adjust to life out of the military, they say they're grateful to those who want to help them get their foot in the door.

"The more people that are out to help out the military, the better on them. Thank you," Navy veteran Mukhtiar Khan said.

Thursday's job fair was organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The group will hold another event for veterans in Houston on February 6 at the Westin Galleria.


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