AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- They've served their country, and perhaps still do. Many have spent months or even years in combat zones, but here at home, they can't find a job.
Too many of Maine's veterans are looking for work - and that's the reason behind the "Hiring Our Heroes" job fair scheduled for Tuesday at the Augusta Armory. The job fair runs from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM.
About twenty employers have committed to attend, including Maine companies like Cianbro, and a number of national companies ranging from General Dynamics (owner of Bath Iron Works and the former Saco Defense) to T-Mobile, Bank of America and Walgreen's. All the companies have current job openings in Maine.
The Maine Department of Labor says about 8,000 veterans use their Career Centers each year to look for work. The DOL provides special job counselors who are veterans themselves to help vets identify their job skills and then search for available jobs.
The DOL says that right now, unemployment among veterans is about the same as among non-veterans. Its highest among young people, roughly age 18-25 - typically the people with the least amount of work experience and job history. Auta Main, manager of veterans outreach for the MDOL, says that can actually be an advantage for veterans. She says veterans typically have proven leadership experience and training, strong computer skills, are punctual, motivated and ready to be working.
The Hiring Our Heroes project is organized nationally by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is working with the MDOL to host Tuesday's event.
The job fair is open to everyone, but priority will be given to veterans and their spouses. There will also be representatives of state and federal veterans offices to direct vets to any other services they might want.