'Hiring our Heroes' job fairs adding 'Jobs for Vets'

8:01 PM, Dec 11, 2012   |    comments
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JONESBORO, Ga. -- Coming out of combat and getting back into the civilian workplace isn't easy.

But now underway, a series of national Job Fairs to make the job hunt less stressful. But a Job Fair holds no guarantees.

"I served over in Iraq for 3 tours and one tour in Kosovo and have almost 21 actual citations, ribbons and medals combined, but I am still trying to find a job," said Christopher Jones, a US Marine Corps veteran.

MORE | Hiring our Heroes resource page

And Jones is not alone.

"I've been unemployed for so long its like I am at the point I want to try anything at this point. I have been seriously looking for a year and a half," said Beverly Andrews, a US Army veteran who served in Iraq.

"With unemployment of veterans going as high as 27% even with the Job Fairs, getting a job isnt easy.

But Job Fairs, like the one held on Tuesday at the American Legion in Jonesboro, are part of national "Hiring our Heroes" effort, specifically targeting Veterans and designed to get veteran job seekers up-front-and-personal with potential employers.

Its part of a national effort spear-headed by the US Chamber of Commerce, the Labor Department, the American Legion and NBC NEWS.  Since October, 14,000 vets have gotten jobs through the Fairs.

"The reason why we come out is because they actually get you in front of employers more so than a computer online and they get a chance to see you face to face." Jones said.

But getting a job is still a tough road.

"They are friendly. They accept you, but are not so apt to employ you becausee they have so many different opportujnities with so many other people they can choose from. Its very competitive out there," Jones added.

And that's especially true for older veterans. Tom McKennie retired from the Army after 32 years, and has been unemployed for 18 months.

"Many times employers will tell you that you are over-employed. You are caught between a rock and a hard place especially at my age trying to compete with guys who are in their 20's and 30's," McKennie said.

Despite that, McKennie and his military colleagues say they'll never give up trying.

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