Workforce Solutions of Central Texas paired with Fort Hood to bring veterans and their spouses the second annual Hiring Red, White and You job fair at the Fort Hood Community Event Center on Thursday.
The event was held in conjunction with Texas Workforce Commission job fairs in each workforce development area across the state.
Around 400 job seekers were estimated to have attended the event, along with 50 vendors, said Frank Minosky, a workforce commission representative.
Employers included a number of local police departments, centers for higher education, nonprofits and corporations.
“It’s an employment partnership,” Minosky said of working with Fort Hood community partners, including Army Community Service, Army Career and Alumni Program and the Texas Veterans Commission, to bring job fairs to the area.
Workforce Solutions was on hand to provide information about the online system, Work in Texas, which matches job seekers with employers. Attendees could utilize computers on-site to register with the system.
The company also provided information on the trainings they offer.
Veshell Willis, workforce commission employee, said a new grant was available to provide high-demand job training for Defense Department civilians who were laid off this year.
Nearly 1,000 veterans exit the military each month, said Kimberly Patterson, business services manager, who coordinated the event. “This is a great opportunity for the military to make connections prior to leaving service.”
Soldiers are recommended to seek jobs at least six months prior to leaving service, Patterson said.
“Soldiers can be online, while deployed, and look for jobs and have one lined up when they return,” Patterson said, referring to the workforce commission’s online system. “It’s good timing now, as we’re winding down war activity.”
Veteran Erik Michael of Harker Heights was on the search for work.
“I’m looking for any company that will hire me,” he said. He expressed difficulty in finding work in Central Texas after spending six years as an Army aviation mechanic. He is now in the Reserves, seeking full-time work.
Army Community Services employee Teresa Shipman attended the fair to provide information on their services, many of which are geared to military spouses. ACS provides mock job interviews, resume assistance and career assessments at no charge to ID card holders. About 26 percent of military spouses who want to work are unemployed, she said.
“We find permanent employment with the opportunity for advancement up the ladder,” she said. “Resumes are the foot in the door — it has to speak to the employer, which leads to a job interview and then a job.”
Attendee Jerry Houghtaling spent 25 years in the Army and then worked as a contractor for 16 months. He came to the job fair to find a teaching position at the university level.
“It would be more rewarding than punching a clock or relying on a government contract for work,” he said. For now, he is working toward earning a doctorate in public policy.