The unemployment rate for veterans is well above the national average. Hear how groups are lending a hand to those who served the country.

" /> Job Fair for Veterans Aims to Lower High Unemployment | News | Mississippi Public Broadcasting
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Job Fair for Veterans Aims to Lower High Unemployment

By Daniel Cherry | Published 03 Feb 2012 06:21pm | comments

The federal government estimates there are 250 thousand post September 11th veterans who are unemployed nationwide. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how groups in Mississippi are trying to shave down that number in the state.

At the Veterans Job and Education Fair in Jackson on Friday, Jeff Winstead is on the hunt. He's been looking for a job since he returned from Afghanistan last August. He says the search has been arduous to say the least.

"It's been a long process. You find out you're one of 140 or 200 for one position and you just have to keep plugging away at it to get face to face with someone."

The Governor's Job Fair Network and the Veterans' Administration in Jackson organized the job fair. Jennifer Armwood is the Employment Coordinator for the VA. She says making the transition back into the workforce can be extremely difficult.

"They're trying to come back to civilian life and a lot of times skills that they've used in the military, it's not equivalent in civilian (life). So we're doing things, trying to retrain them, sending them back for education so they can become more competitive employees."

Nationally the jobless rate for post September 11th veterans is more than 13 percent. Fifty nine employers were on hand at the job fair to put a dent in that number. David Cobb is a job recruiter for Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula. He says vets are just the kind of employees they're seeking.

"Of course we build navy vessels. The largest we build is 844 feet long, and a lot of the jobs on there they've done in the Navy so they just fit right in to the jobs we're looking for."

Remember Jeff Winstead? His military specialty was dealing with hazardous materials...something he played up when he spoke with Ingalls.

"He's like, we have our own chemical lab which does our own analysis and things. He says,'That might be where you fit.' I feel good about it now."

Organizers say employers gave out about 250 job offers during the job fair.

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