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Job fair aims to help unemployed veterans get back to work

Human Resources
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Company representatives chat with potential employees at a job fair aimed at helping unemployed military veterans find work. There are 10,000 unemployed veterans in South Carolina, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Photo/Travis Boland)

A job fair held Thursday at the USC Alumni Center focused on getting veterans back into the workforce.

Disabled American Veterans, a nonprofit charity that assists veterans, and veteran hiring company RecruitMilitary organized the event, which was also sponsored by Colonial Life and BlueLine Rental. Close to 500 people registered for the event, which featured more than 40 regional and national businesses.

“This job fair is important because corporate America recognizes the talent that stems from the military population,” said Chris Newsome, RecruitMilitary’s outreach strategist, who said his group recognizes that when a service member finishes his or her enlistment, it can be hard to get back to civilian life.

“Whether its four years, eight years or 20 years of service, that’s a long time to be removed from the civilian landscape,” Newsome said. “Interviewing techniques or the ability to produce a really squared-away resume may not be there. We want to be a buffer. Each company represented speaks the language and understands the value these men and women bring.”

Veteran Tyler Saini heard about the job fair on the news and hoped attending it would help his ongoing job search.

“There are a lot of military-friendly places here and a variety of different jobs,” Saini said. “It’s always nice to have opportunities, giving us a chance to re-integrate back into the workforce.”

Saini spent eight years in the Army and is one of 10,000 veterans who are looking for work in South Carolina, according to a 2016 Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

“I’ve always thought the transition process could be very difficult. This just makes it a little easier,” Saini said. “My hope today is to network with these companies and hopefully come away with an opportunity that will lead to a successful career.”

Tim Arnold, president and CEO of Colonial Life, said his company knows first-hand the value of hiring veterans.

“Their discipline, integrity and ability to work in a collaborative environment are just a few of the reasons why their skills align with Colonial Life’s leadership expectations,” Arnold said. “Currently, 10% of our sales representatives and managers are veterans.”

Reach Travis Boland at 803-726-7543.

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