Rahall: Local Vets Are Talented Prospects for Employers

From a Rep. Nick Rahall Release
BECKLEY, W.Va.  – U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) wants to put veterans and military service members’ skills and expertise to work in civilian jobs with the help of an upcoming veterans’ job fair.

“If you are a veteran, military service member or spouse who is job hunting or looking to advance your career with education, the upcoming job fair is pulling together important resources to assist you,” said Rahall.  “There are two sides to this coin of opportunity.  The military job skills our veterans bring home are also valuable commodities for civilian employers. With our young Gulf War-era II veterans unemployment rate at 21.9 percent in 2010, we need to get the word out about these qualified job seekers, who are ready and willing to work.”

The program will include panel presentations, group information sessions, and one-on-one meetings with veterans, military service personnel employers and education program representatives. Railroad and select other prospective employers will have an opportunity to meet with veterans to discuss job prospects and schedule interviews for potential openings.  Veterans should bring their military discharge papers and copies of their resumes to the fair.

“This event aligns with one of my top priorities – making sure that our veterans can make successful transitions from their service abroad,” said Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.).  “I have been fighting to help veterans find good jobs to support their families with legislation such as the Hiring Heroes Act, which will make sure they receive full credit for skills gained during their military service and investing in hiring assistance.  With one in four young veterans unemployed, this is an opportunity for West Virginia’s veterans to meet face-to-face with some top employers.”

“This job fair is a great way to help the brave men and women who have served this country return to the civilian workforce,” said Senator Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.). “It’s important that the incredible skills our service members have gained in the military – discipline and dedication among them – are put to good use once they return home. West Virginia has the best workforce in the world, and our veterans only make us stronger.”

"I applaud this effort to create and identify opportunities for Veterans including members of the West Virginia National Guard," said Major General James A. Hoyer, Adjutant General for West Virginia.  "The men and women that comprise the WVNG bring unique experiences as leaders, organizers, and individuals who can make decisions in stressful atmospheres. Drug free and motivated employees, such as we have in the WVNG, will be a great asset to any employer out there."

Three of the Nation’s top veteran friendly employers, who have operations in southern West Virginia will share their successes with hiring vets and provide prospective employees with insight on job opportunities.  Rahall invited West Virginia colleges and universities to attend and showcase their veteran outreach programs and demonstrate how these programs can add to a veteran’s job marketability.

“Higher education helps translate and build upon military experience paving the road to civilian employment,” Rahall said.  “It is also important that higher learning centers hear from these major employers on the training and skill development they look for in prospective employees.”

The fair will be held on Wednesday, July 20th at the Erma Byrd Education Center, Beaver, West Virginia, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Public and private employers are welcome to participate and can call to register for the fair at Congressman Rahall’s Beckley office:  304-252-5000, or his Bluefield office at 304-325-6222.

Background

Defense contractor, ManTech, operating in Hinton, and CSX and Norfolk Southern with operations throughout the State, are ranked by G. I. Jobs as three of the top military personnel friendly employers in the nation.

U.S. railroads are in a historically-high hiring mode.  Not only is rail traffic on the upswing, but the Association of American Railroads (AAR) cites information from the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board, that approximately 30 percent or 67,000 of the rail companies’ workforce will be eligible to retire within the next five years.  AAR’s Chief Executive Officer and President Edward Hamberger said recently the North American freight railroad industry will possibly hire about 15,000 workers for this year – 5,000 more than his initial forecast.

Area colleges and universities are encouraged to participate in the fair, particularly those that have established veteran outreach and advocacy programs to assist with employment training and placement.  These include Mountain State, Marshall, Concord, and WVU-Tech University; Bluefield State and New River College, Bridgemont and Southern WV Community and Technical College. Federal and state programs to assist veterans with employment will also have representatives on hand.

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