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Hire Mississippi Heroes Job Fair Getting Veterans Back to Work

By Daniel Cherry | Published 08 Mar 2013 06:53pm | comments
National unemployment numbers have shown positive signs recently, but for veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan the unemployment rate is still two and a half points higher than for civilians. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports, a program in Mississippi is aiming to give veterans a hand up into the job force.
 
Mississippi has the 5th highest rate of veteran unemployment in the nation according to the VA. Aaron Moore is a seven year Army veteran from Brookhaven. He served 2 tours in Afghanistan, but now, he says finding a job is difficult.
 
"It's been tight at times, but it's been progressive. Each time you go to an interview you actually learn something different, you learn something new, you find out what you did wrong the last time, and you just build off of it."
 
A veterans' job fair held in Jackson on Friday is part of a year-long statewide initiative called Hire Mississippi Heroes aimed at helping all 28 thousand veterans living in the state find work. Moore came to see if he could find something that suits his skills.
 
"Something in sales representative, customer service, anything dealing with logistics, something where I can actually have face-time with people."
 
Returning to civilian life after years in the military can be a difficult transition regardless, but add on a fruitless job search and the situation can become even more strenuous. That's why Yolanda Martin, the Employment Transition Coordinator for the state says employers need to show their support by seeking out more veterans.
 
"It's for all the employers to come together to make a way for these service members and their spouses to get employed because I would like to think that we want to give back for the service they have given to us."
 
And as for Aaron Moore, he might have found his break. April McClung, Recruiting Manager with Enterprise Rent-a-Car liked what she saw in Moore.
 
"He is a 10 in my book as of right now. Aaron is very sharp. He is a veteran. He's also a candidate of ours and I'm definitely looking forward to continuing the process with him."
 
Organizers say more more than 100 veterans and their family members received job offers. Daniel Cherry...MPB News.

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