At the height of the Vietnam War, the Ad Council encouraged hiring returning veterans with its “Hire a Vet” campaign, and Friday at the Hi-TEC Center conference rooms on North High Street in Hillsboro, a similar local effort to pair up veterans with employers will take place from 1-3 p.m.
The second annual Veterans Job Fair will start with lunch from noon to 1 p.m. under the auspices of Ohio Means Jobs Highland County, coordinators said.
Rhonda Fannin, Highland County Community Action’s Director of Workforce Services/Ohio Means Jobs, said she and her staff were excited to host the veteran-specific event.
“Lunch will be provided for veteran attendees and employers beginning at noon, and to date, we have 22 employers confirmed for attendance,” she said.
Fannin went on to express appreciation for the service of the country’s veterans, and in turn, its veteran-friendly employers.
Cailin Hoskins of the Highland County Veterans Service Office in Hillsboro is herself a veteran, and while she already had a job when she joined the National Guard, she said many military members enlist right out of high school and have little to no prior job experience.
“The military is all they know, so when they get out it’s a completely different lifestyle,” she said. “A lot of them don’t know where to start, how to do a job interview or even where to look for jobs, so these veteran-specific job fairs are great for these service members who are re-entering the civilian workforce.”
She said some service members experience “culture shock” since they have gone from an environment where they’re told what to do and where to go with a pre-planned job routine, and into the civilian world where the day-to-day routine can rapidly change, decision-making skills are necessary and thinking on one’s own is a requirement for success.
Hoskins said veterans bring many great on-the-job disciplines to the interview.
“Any job that they had in the military brought with it a great attention to detail,” she said. “A potential employer will find that a veteran works well under pressure, and will do what it takes to get the job done; done well and on-time.”
With showing up for work on time being a value that employers emphasize, she said that is one discipline veterans learn early on in their military careers that translates well into the private sector.
“That’s one of the things you learn real quick,” she said. “In the military, if you’re early, you’re on time and if you’re on time, you’re late.”
Her advice to service members now treading the unfamiliar civilian waters of looking for a job is to not be afraid to ask for help, since some veterans view asking for help as a sign of weakness.
Hoskins encouraged former service members to seek out local resources like the Highland County Veterans Service Office for assistance in going back to school or getting a job.
“There is someone within Ohio Means Jobs that specifically helps veterans,” she said. “They can help a former service member transfer those skills onto a civilian resume and aim them in the right direction with the right resources.”
For information on the Veterans Job Fair, contact the Highland County Ohio Means Jobs office at 937-393-1933.
For questions regarding veterans affairs, the Highland County Veterans Service Office can be reached at 937-393-8686.
Recent statistics from the Veterans Administration show there are more than 800,000 veterans living in Ohio.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.