LEWISTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- If you have a job opening, the Lewiston CareerCenter suggests recruiting a veteran.

Twelve employers met with more than 300 applicants at a job fair for veterans at the Lewiston CareerCenter Tuesday morning.

The event was open to the public, but was intended to connect veterans and employers looking to hire them.

Oxford Casino sponsored the job fair, and its representatives say they're looking for veterans to fill a number of new openings.

"We understand that when you come out of the military, you come out with a certain work ethic...we like that," said Kim Gerard, representing Oxford Casino.

Other employers at the fair included Lowe's, Americorps, VIP Auto, CompuPay, First Light Home Care, and Merrymeeting Behavioral Health Services.

The manager of the Lewiston CareerCenter, Mary LaFontaine, saidshe's seeing more job openings, and more employers asking for veterans.

She said the Lewiston branch experienced a 55 percent increase in people assigned to job openings this October, while many employers are asking for veterans specifically.

"[Veterans] arepeople who show up for work, on time, ready to work, ready to learn," said LaFontaine.

The Lewiston CareerCenter reports about 15,000 veterans between Androscoggin, Franklin, and Oxford counties. The center estimates 25 percent of those veterans are currently unemployed or under-employed.

Veteran Steve Michaud said he came to the job fair to find a job with more hours.

After more than 20 years in the navy, he said he's become frustrated in the job hunting process.

"All of the applications that I've made -- I don't even get a response back to say your application has been received," said Michaud. "That is so disheartening."

He said meeting with employers in person has changed his outook.

"I do feel a little bit better now that I've actually been here," he said.

If any veteran or employer was not able to attend the fair, but would like to use the Lewiston CareerCenter's services, call 753-9000 and ask fora Veterans Rep.

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