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Expo connects employers, veterans
Job fair draws 500, two dozen companies looking to hire
WEB 0217 ExpoKenneth Davis
Retired airman Kenneth Davis waits Wednesday as National Truck & Heavy Equipment Training admissions representative Bruce Granai looks at his resume. - photo by Photo by Randy C. Murray

A Civilian Career Expo sponsored by was held at Club Stewart on Wednesday in an effort to link two dozen employers and educational institutions with more than 500 active and former members of the military as well as military spouses.
“We want to support our soldiers and their spouses,” said Denise Gilliam, operations manager with and a retired soldier. “We do this by providing them with one-on-one opportunities to meet with employers who are committed to hiring former military.
“These are employers who prefer veterans because they understand the skills, experience and discipline military personnel have to offer their organization, and they understand what veterans have to offer because most of them are also veterans.”
Gilliam and Vicki L. Washington, director of and also a retired soldier, organize and facilitate 36 job fairs each year, including two at Fort Stewart. Wednesday’s expo drew responses from 23 government and private employers, as well as colleges and universities including Northrop Grumman, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, the University of Phoenix and United Research Services.
The spectrum of job fields included automotive mechanics, biotechnology, mechanical and electrical engineering, financial services and government service. Government service employers included recruiters for the Air Force Reserve and Texas National Guard, Federal Bureau of Prisons, the commissary and Army/Air Force Exchange Services and the Georgia Department of Labor.
Active-duty soldiers browsed tables and talked with industry recruiters, but the bulk of job seekers seemed to be retirees and soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who recently transitioned to civilian life.
Kenneth Davis, a recent Air Force retiree and student at Central Texas College, talked to Bruce Granai of National Truck & Heavy Equipment Operator School. Davis, an information technology major, said he was there to apply for a job, rather than sign up for training.
Richard Williams, a recently retired soldier and student at Webster University, talked to Steven Lange, military admissions representative at WyoTech, about jobs in the automotive industry. Khara Renthrop, a former Army logistics officer, talked to Raymond Spears, recruiter for United Research Services, about open positions in Albany and Atlanta, as well as Jacksonville and Tallahassee.
Neslihan Kelly, AAFES human resource associate, talked to military spouses about their Spouse Employment Continuity (Test) Program, which offers non-competitive priority to military spouses and spouses of AAFES management associates. She said spouses with questions about the program can call 876-2494.
Gilliam said veterans often have been hired the same day by employers taking part in their expositions.
“During our last job fair at Fort Polk, La., there was a young man, a former soldier, who had just been laid off work,” said Gilliam. “His company was going through some downsizing. He had submitted his resume a week in advance the way we ask folks to do, and he was hired on the spot when he came to the job fair.”
In addition to providing a link with perspective employers, provided job searchers with an interview guide included with the event program.

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