Tennessee Valley veterans seek out employment at Hiring Our Heroes job fair

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Despite the training and job skills our military veterans acquire during their service, they generally have a harder time finding work compared to other civilians.

Hiring Our Heroes, a national effort of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, puts veterans in search of work in front of the employers who need them.

“The job search has been kind of rough, but i`m staying positive,” admits Jedidiah Stele, a veteran who was laid off from his job in April. A job he first got by coming to Hiring Our Heroes two years ago.

“It`s all about just getting your foot in the door,” said Tara Hazelton. Currently an Air Force Combat Systems Officer, she’ll be entering the civilian workforce in September. “You may not land that dream job right now but you have to get that experience.”

Ernie Lombardi, a Southeast regional associate for the foundation, says probably the biggest challenge veterans searching for work is transitional skills. Essentially, explaining what they have done in military life and how it translates into what civilian employers are looking for.

For Hazelton, the transition is daunting.

“The Air Force kind of walks you through everything, do this, now you`re going to do this, now do this, and so it`s kind of intimidating walking into the civilian side, you have to be kind of proactive and figure it out for yourself,” said Hazelton.

Nationally, the unemployment rate for veterans has gone down in the past year. But according to the Bureau of Labor STatistics it is still at 9% for veterans who have served since 2001.

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