Posted at: 08/02/2012 6:40 PM
By: Gordon Severson
Mayo Joins Businesses Looking to Hire Veterans
Studies show the unemployment rate for vets is still three times higher than the general public.To help get our service members back to work, job fairs called Hiring our Heroes are taking place across the country.
Thursday’s job fair featured nearly 60 companies, many with local connections to our area.All of them set up booths at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, hoping to hire more vets.
"A lot of contacts, it's just that networking piece," Charlie O’Connell explains.For Lt Colonel Charlie O'Connell, a 23-year vet with National Guard, switching to a corporate lifestyle is a little overwhelming
"They understand the leadership values that military people are able to bring to their organizations," O’Connell says.On Thursday, O'Connell went booth to booth looking for a job.
He was one of a few hundred soldiers who spent the day talking with recruiters"It was daunting for me to get out and it's like well, what do I do now," Jesse Gappa explains.
Gappa currently works as a Sales Rep with Verizon Wireless.Merely six months ago, he was in their shoes.
An outgoing Navy electrician looking for work."Coming out of the military it's all new and it's you know, a whole different corporate world," Gappa says.
Since then he's seen two promotions in only three months."I think it's really great that I'm able to give back," says Gappa.
Recruiters plan to hire at least a hundred soldiers during the fair.However, they say it's not only about hiring now, but laying the groundwork for the future.
"We want to kind of light the pathway for them. We want to help them turn that flashing light on and here's the hurdles, here's the steps, here's the process," Guy Finne of Mayo Clinic explains.Recruiters with Mayo say the fair is just as much about learning as it is hiring.
Vets learning about the clinic, and the clinic learning about vets."To talk about the military language and the culture. To try to educate us to be better receivers of them," Finne says.
Thursday's fair is just one of more than 200 nationwide specifically geared toward hiring vets.With the next one coming to Rochester.
It's a job fair Lt Colonel O'Connell is hoping to skip."Hopefully by the that time I'll be employed so that I won't have to attend that. But I'll definitely be passing on the word for that one too," O’Connell chuckles.
The job fair in Rochester will be held Thursday October 11th at the International Event Center.
Many of the companies at Thursday’s fair are already signed up.