Idaho veteran at job fair: 'It's a rough start coming home and trying to pick up'

Employers are recruiting veterans at job fairs across Idaho Thursday.

For veterans transitioning out of active duty, it can be a tough adjustment.

And translating their military skills into civilian jobs is particular hurdle.

With Veterans Day approaching, Idaho employers wanted to let our vets know they are hiring!

The Idaho Department of Labor's goal today was to recruit 100 veterans at four different job fairs across the state.

"Your life is paused while you're gone and it’s like everything is on hold, and then you come home and try to pick up where you left off, and it’s a rough start coming home and trying to pick up," says Andre Barlow.

Barlow, from Rupert, Idaho, was deployed to Iraq from 2010 to 2011, where he served in special ops.

Barlow struggles with PTSD and has had difficulty transitioning back to a normal life.

"You come home and at first you feel like sore thumb in a crowd, you kind of feel out of place a little bit," says Barlow.

But he says he takes comfort knowing that many employers here also served our country and after visiting the Idaho State Police booth he is considering a job in law enforcement.

It’s a job opportunity, like all others here, where a vet's skills would transfer into the workplace.

"Your initial job title could be say logistics, but you're running a shop, you're running a shop for six different units while also taking care of soldiers, so there's a lot of transferable skills that are mixed into that, that a veteran just has to express and explain," says Robert Feliciano, a veteran employment rep at the Idaho Department of Labor.

And sometimes those skills are overlooked.

"Maybe for the military it’s kind of normal that you're overseeing and in charge of someone, so maybe for the military side it's normal, and when they get on the civilian side they are leaving that out because a vet may think everyone kind of knows about the military lifestyle," says Feliciano. "What ends up happening is an employer may end up not ask certain questions and now the vet isn't expressing how they were in charge of an area."

It's a challenge veterans all over the country face.

The national annual unemployment rate for veterans is 4.4 percent. That's slightly higher than Idaho's jobless rate of 3.6 percent.

At Thursday's job fair, employers even conducted mock interviews to make sure these vets are prepared for a job interview in civilian life.

"Knowing that it’s a job fair for veterans, it’s definitely a huge eye opener for us veterans to know that there are employers out there willing to put themselves out there for the veterans," says Barlow.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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