Texoma veterans met with area employers and applied for their open positions Thursday, thanks to a job fair meant to get former military servicemen and women integrated into the region’s workforce.
The annual Red, White and You job fair was hosted by Workforce Solutions Texoma and held inside the Sherman Municipal Ballroom. An estimated 400 veterans and civilians took part in the fair, meeting and, in some cases, interviewing with representative from nearly 40 area business and organizations. The event was first started by the Texas Workforce Commission in 2012 and was held in cities across the state Thursday by the agency’s 28 offices.
“When our veterans are overseas, fighting for us, we really support them,” Workforce Solutions Texoma Director of Business Services Terrence Steele said, “but when they come back home and they don’t have the same professional skill sets that we might have, a lot of them just feel left out when it comes to finding a job.”
Chuck Connor, a representative of the Texas Workforce Commission’s Texas Veterans Leadership Program, said veterans often return from their service with a feeling that they lack the skills needed to land a job. But as a veteran himself, Connor said many former military men and women don’t realize that they have desirable traits, including the ability to work well with others, tackle group projects and manage other people and operations.
“That’s the cool thing about the military,” Connor said. “You just go do what they tell you to do, essentially, but you don’t always realize that you’re learning some skills many civilians might not ever experience in their life.”
Steele said the area’s unemployment rate currently sits at just 3.2 percent, well below the 4 percent which constitutes “full employment.” As a result, Steele said the fair was just as important an opportunity for the employer because many are struggling to get candidates in the door.
“Even though the unemployment rate is low, a lot of the employers around here are saying their production levels are constantly rising,” Steele said. “So they need people to fill those spots.”
WinStar World Casino and Hotel Recruiting Manager Tifanny Hudson was quick to back Steele’s description of the fair as a mutually beneficial event.
“We need the employees just as much as they need us right now,” Hudson said.
The human resources manager said her company found great success at this year’s fair and tentatively hired four civilians and one veteran. Hudson said Winstar’s hiring powers often gravitate toward veterans because of their commitment and reliable work ethic.
“They fought for our country and they know what hard work is,” Hudson said. “They don’t feel entitled and they tend to make great employees and great workers. That’s why we come to this job fair every year.”