ATLANTA, Nov. 8, 2012 - Thousands of Veterans and members of the Guard and Reserve converged on the Georgia World Congress Center for a job fair featuring more than 300 prospective employers. It was the largest Veteran-specific job fair ever hosted in Georgia.
“This is amazing,” said Senior Airman Tamika Watkins, a member of the 202nd Engineering Installation Squadron. “I came here to find job leads and was overwhelmed. I bet everyone who came here left with a job; there were just so many opportunities.”
The “Troops to Trucks” program, for example, will assist Veterans in obtaining employment in transportation, a field which still struggles to fill positions.
The event was the result of cooperation between the Georgia Department of Labor, the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development, and hundreds of civilian employers from multiple industries. The job fair was initiated by Governor Nathan Deal’s announcement of new initiatives to address unemployment and underemployment of Georgia’s Veterans. The Governor also announced the creation of a website to serve as a one-stop resource for training and job listings across Georgia. At www.operationworkforce.com, Veterans can search for career centers and Veteran’s services by zip code or city. By creating a profile, Veterans can search local jobs by industry code, region, or key word search.
After the announcement of the new initiatives, Veterans were encouraged to meet with prospective employers and receive resume coaching. The Georgia National Guard was out in force for the event. More than fifty Army and Air Guardsmen manned information booths directing Veterans to prospective employers and training opportunities. Georgia Army and Air National Guard recruiters met with Veterans interested in extending their service in the Guard.
“We have representatives from the Air and Army Guard as well as financial advisors, representatives from the education office, Yellow Ribbon Program, and (Employer Support for Guard and Reserve),” said Col. Mark London, Director of Joint Family Services. “In addition, the senior leadership of the Georgia Department of Defense was present here today and has been actively engaged with civic leaders and employers to highlight the employable skills of our Guardsmen.”
In speaking with Guardsmen at the job fair, it was common to find Soldiers and Airmen who were seeking employment resources for their fellow service members.
“This has been very positive,” said Staff Sgt. Teleo Laury, Supply Sergeant for the 165th Quartermaster Company based at the Clay National Guard Center. “I have a full time job but I wanted to get help for some of my Soldiers who couldn’t make it here today. I am going to put together a summary of what I have learned and brief my Soldiers at our next drill.”
Colonel Mark London hoped that the education would not be confined to service members but would extend to employers as well.
“Employers are beginning to realize that they can receive up to $10,000 in tax credits for every Guardsman they hire,” said London. That incentive and the community outreach of our leadership is having a definite impact.”
Story by 1st Lt. William Carraway
Public Affairs Office
Georgia Department of Defense
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