AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Thousands of Mainers are looking for work right now, but Maine's military veterans are having a particularly tough time finding jobs. State figures show 13% of Maine veterans is unemployed. That's why the Maine State Chamber of Commerce organized a Veterans Job Fair in Augusta. The event, called "Helping Heroes", was part of a nationwide effort for 100 similar job fairs, organized by the U.S. Chamber. Today's fair in Augusta was the 58th to be held so far, it also happened to coincide with the 236th birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps.
Young veterans, in particular, are having a struggle finding work when they return home. But the Chamber and a number of the employers at the Job Fair said veterans can be ideal candidates for jobs. "What you need," said Emily Hopkins of Unum in Portland, "are the teamwork skills, the communication skills and the potential for leadership. Those are overwhelmingly three of the highest qualities we look for." Hopkins said veterans possess those skills and have depended on them for survive. A number of employers at the fair talked with veterans about how their current skills can be adapted to the specific needs of a job, Veteran Mike martin said he and other vets have a broad range of experience and training in the military, and are accustomed to learning and mastering new skills.
The Maine State Chamber and the Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) are starting a special program to train veterans for manufacturing jobs--- one area where skilled workers are in short supply. The two groups are bringing a special mobile training van to Maine, and will use it at different workplaces to train people for those particular jobs. The program is called Mobile Outreach Skills Training, or "M.O.S.T.", and will be starting in a few weeks.
More information on the MOST training project can be found at