Job fair gives veterans a boost in job search

2013-05-02T19:30:00Z 2013-05-02T22:59:04Z Job fair gives veterans a boost in job searchJoyce Russell joyce.russell@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222 nwitimes.com

PORTAGE | Area veterans looked to get a leg up on hiring Thursday.

More than 30 attended the Hiring Our Heroes job fair for veterans and military spouses sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and hosted by American Legion Post 260.

The fair was also a boost for employers.

Ronny Betz, general manager of the trucking school and truck sales for Venture Logistics, said their company regularly attends job fairs aimed at veterans.

"We find we get some high quality folks. They have the qualities of the type of people we are looking for," said Betz, who expected to hire two or three people through the fair.

Ryan Jackson of Valparaiso was one of the veterans looking for a job. Discharged from the Army in 2007 after serving four years, Jackson then worked overseas as a military contractor before coming home and going back to school on the GI Bill.

"I'm looking for anything," said Jackson.

Army veteran Terry Day, of Portage, has also had his ups and downs since being discharged in 1992. It has been difficult to maintain a job because he is disabled, he said.

"I've been looking since July. I was let go from my last job because of illness," said Day, who wanted to find work in information technology.

Jill Shesol of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the job fair in Portage is one of about 500 that have been held across the country. The organization's goal is to have 500,000 veterans hired. So far, 100,000 have found jobs through the fairs.

The next Hiring Our Heroes fair will take place May 23 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Information on services for veterans was also available to those attending the fair.

Joseph Fuller, department service officer for the Indiana American Legion said veterans can turn to their local American Legion post or the Veterans Administration for programs such as vocational rehabilitation, temporary financial assistance or veterans preference program for hiring.

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