Hundreds of veterans filled the Freeman Coliseum’s Expo Hall this week looking for work. The Texas Workforce Commission held a job fair specially tailored to those converting military experience into civilian jobs.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, veterans who have served since 9/11 are experiencing an unemployment rate of 10 percent, slightly higher than the civilian rate.
The Texas Workforce Commission is actively trying to get these veterans back into work.
"We want those veterans to be able to get jobs and be a productive member of society," said Commissioner of Labor Ronald Congleton. "All that works towards the favor of their city, their county, their state, and their country.”
Natalie Benson is one of the veterans who is looking for employment opportunities; she spent 20 years in the army earning the rank of Staff Sergeant. Benson retired 13 years ago and worked for an oil company before being laid off this year. During her service, she was a Nuclear and Biological Chemical Specialist.
"So that's not transferring over to anything out here, you know, because that's something that you deal with almost exclusively in a time of conflict," Benson said.
Benson is now looking for work in business administration – her second job in the military. She’s had about four interviews and is using the Texas Workforce Commission to find matches.
State Senator Leticia Van de Putte chairs the Veterans affairs and Military installations committee and said veterans are not looking for handouts,"They're just looking for an opportunity to be productive just like they were in the military. They've earned it and if you're in the hiring mode give a vet a second look."
Each of the Commission’s 28 development boards held a similar job fair.
- Red White & You Job Fair: www.twc.state.tx.us/svcs/vetsvcs/hiring-red-white-you.html