St. Louis (KMOX) – Debates still rage in Washington over the debt ceiling increase and the unemployment rate is rising, but today, Chaifetz Arena will be full of undeterred heroes looking for work.
RecruitMilitary, a hiring firm that helps returning soldiers adjust back into civilian life, will be holding an “Opportunity Expo” from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Director of Events John Lundberg, a former Marine with 20 years of service under his belt, believes businesses like to enlist men and women with military experience.
“They love hiring veterans,” he says. “What they see when they come to our events is a sect of people that have an incredible work ethic. They understand what it means to get a job done in a timely manner, to be able to do that under arduous conditions often with less than desirable resources.
“You couple that with their certifications, their education and their experience, and it makes them a very valuable commodity to any organization”
The veteran-owned-and-operated RecruitMilitary holds these hiring events year-round in cities across the country. Lundberg mentioned that Amazon, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Energizer, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) would be in attendance this year, looking for future employees for their companies. It also hosts the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
“The VA attends all of our events,” Lundberg says. “The reason the VA is there is twofold: they’re there to hire, but they’re also there to inform veterans of all of the benefits that are available to them and to assist anybody with any issues or challenges they may face after having served in the military and pointing them in the right direction.”
But one of the challenges vets have to overcome is the brutal job market they’re trying to enter. Some companies just aren’t hiring our nation’s finest, even at special veteran career fairs, the unemployment rate for veterans is higher than the national average, 13.3 percent as opposed to 9.2 percent, and there might be some hesitation from businesses to hire soldiers returning from combat.
Despite these concerns, Lundberg is expecting anywhere from 300 to 500 vets looking for work to show up at today’s expo.
“To some people, that might not sound like a great deal of numbers,” he says, “but what people have to keep in mind is 88 percent of the population is not invited to our events.”
And for those 12 percent that are welcome, Lundberg suggests they “dress for success” and network at the event as much as possible. He also had a message for anyone trying to find workers in this uneasy economy.
“If you’re only going to hire one individual this year, make it a veteran.”
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