Most troops tend to relax on their end of tour leave, but Corporal Riley Dobbs canvassed the Veteran Hiring Fair in Detroit looking for a job. He just got back from his second tour in Afghanistan and won’t separate from the Marine Corps for a few more months and thought being proactive in this job market would be a good thing.

The Michigan State Police and Department of Natural Resources are two of the employers Corporal Dobbs applied to, two agencies  of 240 employers looking to hire Vets for over 25,000 positions across the country.

For the past three days, a few dozen tables set up for one-on-one resume workshops have buzzed non-stop with Vets fine-tuning their work experience into terms employers can understand.

Dave Locher, a Marine Corps Vet with two tours in Iraq, told me the resume building helped sell his skills to potential employers. “I have a specialized degree, so it helped to get the wording right,” he said. Locher , who has a temp job at the moment, is expecting to hear back from the Interior Department and USDA.

The staggering number of employers on hand, ready to hire Veterans, is a welcome rebuke of some prevailing attitudes in business today. A recent report of business leaders concluded that employers want the skills Veterans offer, but some have reservations thanks to untrue stereotypes.

“I’ve heard about some veterans coming back and going on rampages,” said one business leader. “I’ve never had this happen to me personally, but I always wonder if it is a possibility.” This is an inaccurate portrayal of Veterans we’ve pushed back against, and with the number of motivated employers eager to hire Vets here, perhaps hiring officials are coming to their senses and realizing that employing Veterans makes good business sense.

The Hiring Fair was worth a long drive to Charles Emerson, who has been searching for a job to start after his retirement from the Army National Guard. Emerson drove from the Washington, DC area to be in Detroit this week. On the third and final day, he found officials from the Tomah VA Medical Center in Wisconsin and handed over his resume—and later accepted a job offer as an intern in the health system at Tomah. The whole process took about an hour and a half. He’ll start his position in September.

“It’s been a matter of patience,” Emerson said. “Today all the right wires crossed at the right time.”

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Published on Jun. 28, 2012

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One Comment

  1. Robert July 2, 2012 at 10:25 am

    I do have a few suggestions for the next one. All in all it was a great experience, and I hope the VA helped reach their goal of 1000 veterans employed. The VA reps walking around in the blue smocks were very helpful. Hats off to all of them. To the employers that showed up, thank you for supporting us veterans. the amount of employers was astonishing. I hope more will show up in the future. Thank you again and Semper Fidelis.

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