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Hiring event goes virtual to reach more veterans

By C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (June 11, 2012) -- It won't be a job fair in Detroit, June 25-29, but rather, a "hiring event." The difference is that Soldiers who attend the Veterans Affairs-sponsored event won't just be dropping off their resumes with company reps in hopes of receiving a call back. Soldiers can actually attend the event, get interviewed and perhaps, get hired.

"We are actually offering positions and jobs, on site," said Mary M. Santiago, director for Veteran Employment Services at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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Soldiers don't need to actually go to Detroit to participate, either. There are five locations throughout the Army where they can interview with participating employers via video teleconferencing: Fort Drum, N.Y.; Fort Knox, Ky.; Rock Island Arsenal, Ill.; Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; and Fort Riley, Kan.

Santiago said there are close to 21,000 jobs, from across the United States, that are being offered at the event. Those jobs are from employers, with hiring officials and mangers on site.

"All these companies that are coming want to be able to hire veterans," she said. "We are providing a forum for all companies to be under one roof, bring veterans in also to the same place, and make that connection."

In January, she said, the VA held a similar event in Washington, D.C. There, 6,400 potential jobs were available for veterans. About 4,100 veterans attended the event. Today, more than 14 percent of those veterans are employed as a result.

At most job fairs, Santiago said, the potential of actually getting a job is less than three percent.

"It's the gift that keeps giving," Santiago said. "Businesses are still referring back to the resumes they received during this event."

In addition to employers, there will be 100 career coaches available to work with veterans on their resumes and career choices, Santiago said. "To get them career-ready for their interviews and any of those jobs they want."

Career counselors will also participate in the VTC portion of the event, though Santiago did say it would be beneficial for job seekers to sign up early at the event website at

Veterans attending the Detroit event can also learn about benefits available to them through the VA, get medical and dental exams, sign up for E-Benefits and learn about the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill.

The variety of jobs available at the hiring event cover a wide spectrum, such as careers in accounting, budget, finance, business, industry, procurement, engineering, architecture, human resources, information technology, logistics, transportation, management, administration, office services, legal and claims.

Santiago said there are jobs available for veterans with education levels ranging from high school diploma through college degree. "We have it all, from A to Z, every type of position possible," she said.

Participants do not need to be out of the military to participate in the hiring event. Employers are looking to hire veterans and soon-to-be veterans. Santiago said employers know military veterans offer qualities others job seekers don't always bring to the table.

"Part of what we found out is a veteran comes with already instilled experience that you can't find anywhere else: decisions making, critical thinking, leadership, (they are) very focused on the mission. Veterans are trained to get things done, and people know this," she said.

To participate in a VTC, Soldiers and veterans must first register for the event on the VA website at, by June 20, 2012.

Once registered, Soldiers are encouraged to contact their local ACAP center to inform them of their registration for the hiring event, posting of a resume on the VA website, and their desire to schedule a virtual interview. Soldiers and veterans will be contacted for the date/ time/location of their virtual interview. Employers will select the candidates they desire to interview. Soldiers and veterans are not guaranteed virtual interview opportunities.

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