Veterans Attend Job Fair

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SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — More than 40 companies and government agencies came out for the second annual Hiring Our Heroes event, which organizers stress is a hands-up, not a handout.

Open to all veterans and their spouses, the fair was sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has a goal of hiring 500,000 vets by the end of 2014. It’s a way for all veterans, young and old, to connect with companies that are hiring in fields ranging from law enforcement to banking, and with dozens of booths all within an arm’s reach, the fair is a great place to network.

Guardsman Curtis Winkelman, who’s looking for full-time work, says being a vet can make it easier to find a job, but it can also make it harder.

“Some employers aren’t friendly to veterans, mainly because we have to be gone over the weekends or even deployed, and there have been plenty of instances when employers will cut hours or even cut the job completely,” he says.

But not everyone at the fair is a recent veteran. Michelle Parkins has been out of the service for more than a decade and attended the fair with an optimistic attitude.

“I’m pretty narrow because it’s public work and there’s a lot of private companies here,” says Parkins, “but you never know what could happen, which is why I take the time to come in.”

The fair also had a session on how to build resumes and improve interview skills.

Hiring Our Heroes is a nationwide program, and Thursday’s event was the 507th across the United States since March, 2011.

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