William Hayes, a U.S. Army veteran of the Vietnam War, glances around a room filled with recruiters from over 40 local, regional and national companies. He's looking for restaurant work — but there are no such jobs available at this event. Hayes, out of work for the past six months, cooked at restaurants for the last 20 years, most recently at the American Club in Atlantic City. Now in his late 60s, he says his social security payments aren’t cutting it.
Hayes and more than 700 other veterans pre-registered for a job fair conducted by RecruitMilitary today at Lincoln Financial Field. As the job fair began, RecruitMilitary's events director, John Lundberg, urged the vets — dressed variously in dark suits and camouflage fatigues — to talk to as many recruiters as possible. “You might not get a job offer today,” he says, “but you’ll get the process started.”
Specialist Donald Wolski, in his National Guard uniform, says he just started his job search. Wolski was wounded in action and has received support from a Warrior Transition Unit, a rehabilitative program structured like a military unit and aimed at transitioning soldiers back into civilian life. He worked as a truck driver before entering the military, and planned to talk to recruiters from Amtrak and Volt Services.
Lundberg, who has run more than 150 job fairs since he started working for RecruitMilitary in 2008, says veterans have technical skills and a work ethic that should make them attractive to employers. But they are often unable to translate those skills into terms employers can understand. He says that, on average, each event leads to more than 100 veterans receiving job offers.
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