News: Employers seek Soldiers at OSW 2014
Story by Spc. Cal Turner
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. – In addition to fundamental Soldier skill training, Soldiers attending the Operation Sustainment Warrior 2014 event, hosted by the 655th Regional Support Group, had the opportunity to attend a job fair at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst on July 29.
In conjunction with the 377th Theater Support Command, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the Employment Support of the Guard and Reserve and the American Legion, the “Hiring Our Heroes” event brought dozens of civilian employers, nearby police agencies and trade schools to the job fair for the U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers participating in OSW 2014.
Participants in the job fair were very supportive of the Soldiers attending.
“It’s phenomenal. My job consists of conducting job fairs throughout New Jersey. This is our 20th partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and the ESGR,” said Bob Looby, past state commander of the New Jersey American Legion and Economics and Employment chairman of New Jersey. “We do these so my brothers and sisters hopefully can get a job or improve on the job position they have now. It’s all about serving the guys and girls that served us most recently.”
Looby pointed out that these job fairs differ from other job fairs in very crucial ways.
“[The feedback] is relatively good. With so many job fairs, employers show up with no jobs openings,” he said. “We make it mandatory at American Legion and Chamber of Commerce job fairs [employers] must commit to having job openings. Then we go back to them at the 30-day, 60-day and 90-day mark to find out additional feedback including how many veterans they interviewed and how many active duty versus reservists they’ve hired.”
The state of New Jersey also serves veterans with a number of services to help them find employment.
“We’ve been involved working with many of the partners who organize this job fair. We are a big partner with the ESGR,” said Catherine Starghill, director, Workforce Field Services, New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. “We go around the state to as many job fairs as they want to have, we are going to have staff there. It’s a major priority of this administration.”
The work is a positive thing for Starghill and her staff who take their responsibility seriously.
“It’s always a pleasure when a job seeker gets a job,” Starghill said. “It’s even more of a pleasure when a veteran gets a job. What we hear from employers all the time is they want veterans because of the leadership training and the discipline veterans receive while in the military. There’s really a big demand.”
Job seekers can go on the New Jersey Department of Labor Workforce Development website to see where all the job fairs are located throughout the state for veterans and non-veterans alike.
“All of the job fairs that the New Jersey Department of Labor participate in are listed on a master calendar on our website,” stated Starghill. “We also have a dedicated veterans services staff located in all the one-stop career centers throughout the state.”
Not all of the Soldiers attending the job fair were looking for work, but many appreciated the event and embraced the opportunity.
“I’m in school right now, so I’m not working,” said Spc. Gladys Lazcano, a cargo handler with the 554th Transportation Detachment out of Sinton, Texas. “They have different varieties of everything here. There’s not just one thing, there’s a lot of choices that benefit Soldiers in different ways. We have job fairs down in Texas, but I’ve never seen them with all Soldiers like this.”
There is assistance available for Soldiers in New Jersey with physical issues or for Soldiers who are unprepared for the amount of work that goes into successfully finding a job, according to Starghill.
“Our staff will help figure out what a Soldier’s skill base is and what their interests are and match them with an employer,” Starghill said. “We also provide services to veterans with substantial barriers to employment. It is rough work serving in the military, so sometimes we provide special services to veterans so that they are job ready. We have these special services available in the one-stop career centers.”
The second job fair for OSW 2014 takes place on Aug. 1, 2014. It will service the first group of attendees who went straight into training at OSW. The fair is also open to veterans and their spouses in the area as well.