U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons and Rep. John Carney hosted a veteran’s job fair at Wilmington University in Dover on Thursday.
The goal was to match up current and former members of the military with as many as 40 different employers. Veterans and active duty military have several qualities that qualify them for many job titles—but finding job opportunities can be a challenge.
The Delaware Delegation as well as organizers shared why it’s important to host such an event to help current and former military members connect to potential employers.
“It’s just as difficult as it is for anyone else (to find a job), and that’s why we like to host veteran specific job fairs to find those talents and reach out to those individuals so we can match the member with the right company,” said James Webb, director of military affairs at Wilmington University.
Jobs available covered a spectrum of fields, including medical, public safety, education, banking and trade. Large companies hiring included the Delaware Department of Transportation, Delaware Technical & Community College, Dover Downs, Christiana Care and M&T Bank.
Wilmington University hosts about four job fairs a year, but partners with veteran’s services throughout the year for both active duty and retired military members. The university always looks for employers that have lucrative positions available, Webb said.
Military service men and women have several qualities that employers look for when hiring new employees, he said.
“They’re disciplined, so you can always count on these people, and they have the skills taught to them in the military they can bring with them to the community,” Webb said. “Employers need those types of individuals in their organization to have a successful organization.”
The Delaware State Police took applications from military members, who if accepted, will join the police academy and become state troopers.
“We like to support our military veterans,” said Corp. Kristin Willard, recruiter for the Delaware State Police. “They make great applicants for us because they are very confident, they are well trained, they are very disciplined and they’ve had a lot of experience either in deployment or training. So they work very well for us in the field.”
John Healy of Harrington, who retired from the air force five years ago, said he’s looking for opportunities to present his skills to employers.
“I’m hoping my leadership skills and management experience are transferable and will help another organization reach its goals,” he said.
James Prim of Felton, an army veteran, said he retired three months ago and wants to start a new career path.
“I’m at the age now I’m open to any new adventure,” he said. “I’ve caught up on all my projects around the house—it’s time to do something productive.”
Besides employers, organizations like Hero’s 2 Hire, attended the event to help veterans and active duty military members be successful when looking for a job. Hero’s 2 Hire serves military members, veterans and their families to help them with employment by preparing them for the job search and the interview.
Buddy Johnson, employment coordinator for the organization, engaged service members throughout the event, and took their resume to review and give feedback.
“A lot of times the employers coming to job fairs have jobs available. It’s a matter of talking to the veteran or service member to make sure their skillsets match up with the employers,” he said. “I’ve already met some of the employers today and I’ve already sent some of the veterans to their table. They may get hired before walking out of here this morning.”
Jacqueline Fischer of Dover, who has served in the navy and national guard, said the job fair provided valuable information that is not easy to find anywhere else.
“If you don’t have the internet it’s hard to locate a job, and the job fair provided not just a job site to come to but information about the jobs and other jobs connecting to that job,” she said. “It helps veterans and when we can’t find help it’s here.”