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Group Aims To Ease Employment Transition For Vets

Virginia Alvino
Texas Public Radio News

The unemployment rate for veterans in the U.S. recently reached an all-time low - below five percent. But in Texas, that number is higher. A job fair was held Wednesday in the Military City specifically for service members and their spouses.

More than 80 employers tabled at the AT&T Center to recruit employees. These organizations from Starbucks to the Border Patrol, are looking specifically for veterans.

Hiring Our Heroes organized the event. The group’s Chuck Hodges says besides networking, his organization prepares veterans for employment with educational opportunities.

“So whether that be through workshops, through personal branding, LinkedIn, negotiation of salary, interview skills, those things that you need to be successful,” says Hodges.

Sergeant First Class Patrick Garcia is among 500 veterans and their spouses at the job fair. He’s based at Fort Sam Houston, and is getting ready to transition to civilian life this fall.

“This is my first time looking for a job in like 22 years, so, it’s going really good," says Garcia.

He didn’t know what to expect from the process, but he’s learning about a lot of resources, and handing out resumes.

Garcia says he has those skills which are exactly the ones these employers are looking for from veteran candidates. Like facing challenges and still getting great results.

“Being able to bring that type of planning and that type of thought process to accomplishing the mission or accomplishing whatever job you’re given," says Garcia. "I think that benefits me a lot.”

Employers at this job fair say they’re also looking for team players, and excellent communicators.

Virginia joined Texas Public Radio in September, 2015. Prior to hosting and producing Fronteras for TPR, she worked at WBOI in Indiana to report on often overlooked stories in the community. Virginia began her reporting career at the Statehouse in Salem, OR, and has reported for the Northwest News Network and Oregon Public Broadcasting.