Job fair for vets draws big crowd

Credit: Troy Colson/KTVB

Job fair for vets draws big crowd

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by Justin Corr

Bio | Email | Follow: @JCorrKTVB

KTVB.COM

Posted on September 12, 2012 at 5:35 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 26 at 12:08 AM

NAMPA -- The unemployment rate for service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan is higher than the average for the overall population.

Improving that situation is where "Hiring our Heroes" comes in.

A job fair was held at the Idaho Center today just for veterans and their family members. It featured more than 100 employers looking to hire.

Hundreds of veterans flocked to the Idaho Center with the hopes that after serving their country in the military, they could get back to serving in this country's workforce.

"Basically my entire adult life was the military," said retired Army Maj. Toy Flores.

Toy Flores served his country in the U.S. Army for 24 years, but now he's looking for a job.

"It's still very, very tough. I've been trying to find a job for a year now, over a year," said Flores.

That's why he, like hundreds of other unemployed veterans, swarmed the “Hiring our Heroes” job fair Wednesday.

Flores says the companies here seem to believe what he does, that his military experience makes him a good candidate for almost any position.

"I've managed troops, 100, over 150 troops. Planning and training, I've done a little bit of everything. So, I can fit anywhere," said Flores.

Staff Sgt. Cody York, a 12-year veteran of the Idaho National Guard, agrees with Flores, that veterans bring certain qualities to the job.

"Organization, dedication, integrity," said York.

York says a job fair like this is invaluable because vets can put those qualities on display.

“The biggest thing is that you're getting a face-to-face. You're not looking at a computer sending the email off with all 20 million people," said York.

"You can actually sit down and talk to HR people that are actually reading the resumes and looking at it, so you can see what they need and what they want, what they require. It's just phenomenal," said Coast Guard veteran Doug Foncree.

Doug Foncree served in the Coast Guard for 21 years and says it's been tough finding work. But he seems confident this event will help him find a job.

"I brought 15 resumes with me and I have two left," said Foncree. "I've got some good prospects, so I think I might actually come away from here with a job. So, I'm kind of excited about that."

Last year’s veterans job fair was so popular organizers moved it to a bigger venue. The Idaho Center wanted to host the event and waived the fees and labor costs.

The bigger space offered more quality face-to-face networking for job-seeking veterans.

At last count, the Department of Labor says almost 700 veterans attended today's event, and 81 had been offered a job.

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