FINDING WORK: Veteran Job Fair

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The goal of "Hire our Heroes"- a job fair aimed at veterans and their spouses- is to connect Iowa employers with veterans. Judging by the turn-out of Wednesday’s event at the Iowa fairgrounds, there is a big need to fill in the state.

There are more than 16,000 veterans in Iowa looking for work. Wednesday’s job fair gave them the opportunity to meet with more than 100 employers and organizations first hand.

“With our backgrounds you think we should be able to step out of the service and find an employer that we will match up well with. And that`s why I am glad they had this job fair,” said Chad Acuff, a veteran who served in the military in one aspect or another for the past 25 years, before having to retire this July.

Acuff is not alone. Job fair organizers say one of the most common problems for former service members, is that their military skills don't always translate for employers. Even though organizers say veterans bring some of the most valuable skills employers need to the table, including leadership, discipline, team focus, and self-motivation.

“This is an opportunity for the employer to visit with service members and find out what their transferable skills are,” said Dick Rue, with Iowa ESGR.

Several veterans who attended said they felt confident with the opportunities offered to them, and were hopeful they would find a job out of it.

Organizers say more than 20 percent of veterans between the ages of 18 and 24 are unemployed.