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Veteran Career Fair and Expo: January 18th in DC!

January 13, 2012

Veterans are not immune from the employment crisis facing the United States. In the fourth quarter of 2011, one out of three veterans age 18 to 24 were unemployed- double the unemployment rate of civilians. Moreover, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that or 50,000 women (22%) who have served in both Iraq and Afghanistan are currently unemployed. With the extensive training that military service requires, this data is certainly discouraging.

 
We were therefore very encouraged to see that the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) movement is ramping up its outreach to veterans. With the increasing number of veterans returning home and seeking employment, STEM fields are an excellent place for many veterans based on the skills that they acquired through serving their country. Efforts like American Corporate Partners – a mentoring program aimed at veterans – and Troops to Energy Jobs – an energy career pathways initiative led by the Center for Energy Workforce Development – are great examples of projects that we have identified in the veteran workforce development arena. Veterans Services of America (VSA) has even begun a new initiative called STEM 2 Veterans, aimed at helping veterans access opportunities in STEM.

 
Another effort really caught our eye because of its timeliness and the sheer quantity of jobs available. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is holding a Veterans Career Fair and Expo at the Washington DC Convention Center on January 18, 2012. The VA, along with other federal agencies and private sector employers, will showcase over 5,000 available positions for our veterans and their families.

 
These government and corporate jobs conform to a variety of skill sets and levels, including: Information Technology, Human Resources, Engineering, Administration, Program Management, Finance, Health Care Services, Public Safety and Law Enforcement. From the perspective of these employers veterans represent a tremendous amount of talent and skills that they can use to improve productivity.

 
In addition to applying and interviewing on-site for the 5,000+ open positions, attendees of the Expo will also receive help with translating their military service into the skills needed in the competitive workforce. Career coaches will be on site to assist with resume building, interview tips and other job-seeking skills.

 
In the world of STEM, it is very easy to get discouraged when looking at statistics like those on veteran unemployment. Admittedly, developing the STEM workforce that is needed for our nation’s future economy is a daunting task. However, it is encouraging to see solution-oriented approaches to our unemployment crisis. As we at STEMconnector.org continue to catalogue thousands of non-profits, corporations, trade associations, and government agencies into our Directory, it is undoubtedly apparent that these organizations are actively seeking to help our nation’s most vulnerable and under-represented groups re-innovate and diversify our workforce.

 
Furthermore, the VA and other veterans organizations will provide information on health care services and other benefits available for veterans plus small business opportunities. Veterans are advised to bring proof of military service with them to the Expo.

 

Visit www.VAforVets.VA.gov for more information on this event:
Veteran Career Fair and Expo
January 18, 2012
8am-7pm
Washington DC Convention Center
801 Mount Vernon Place, NW
Washington, DC 20001

-Written by Tommy Cornelis and Ted Wells

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