Hundreds of jobs available at veterans-only career fair

MILWAUKEE -- Unemployed veterans in southeast Wisconsin got the chance to show off their skills Friday as the Milwaukee Veterans Affairs Medical Center hosted a "veterans only" career fair.

More than 35 employers were there looking to fill more than 750 jobs - jobs ranging from government, to manufacturing, to medical services and private business.

“These employers at the tables are ready to hire.  They have openings.  They want to hire and they want those hires to be veterans,” Georgia Maxwell, Executive Assistant of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development said.

The career fair was packed with more than 700 veterans, with resumes in hand, searching for employment. “I’ve been unemployed for a couple months now," Army Specialist David Henderson said. Henderson was deployed overseas as part of the surge in 2007 and returned from Iraq in 2008. “It's been hard.  The job market has changed so much since going into the military where you can't just turn in an application and get calls back,” Henderson said.

One employer specifically chose this career fair to find his future workers. “We're looking to fill two to three positions in sales,” Gene Genal, who owns Cornerstone Security Group in Wauwatosa said. “Hiring a vet is very personal to me.  My brother-in-law was a vet overseas too, so this is our way of saying thank you -- trying to hire.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs is hoping more employers do the same. “The unemployment rate for veterans is about 13 to 15 percent, which is somewhere around double that of the general population in Wisconsin,” Executive Assistant Michael Trepanier said.

Friday's job fair was the seventh "veterans only" career fair presented by the Milwaukee VA.