Nearly 400 job-seekers turned out at Midway Mall to participate in the Hiring Red, White & You! job fair on Thursday.
The annual event is organized around Veteran’s Day by the Texas Workforce Commission to help veterans seeking a job.
Janie Bates, executive director for Workforce Solutions Texoma, was excited about the turnout.
“Today is our annual Hiring Red, White & You! job fair with a focus on veterans. Even though the focus is on veterans, it is open to everyone,” Bates said. “Because it has grown we moved it to this location. We used to have it at the Municipal Ballroom in Sherman. It’s been very positive. I visited with almost every employer here and they all say they are getting a steady stream of applicants.”
“It’s a great place for people to come and see a large number of employers all at once. We have a local company that is closing at the end of the year. Those people are able to come out here and see multiple employers in one location. It gives them an opportunity to apply, and then they can visit with the HR people. Several people have said they have interviews in the next few days,” Bates said.
Bates said the goal was to get as many jobs placed as possible. She emphasized how many great jobs were available in Texoma, with 59 employers setting up booths ranging from local farms seeking laborers to several health care providers and manufacturing firms. She said the first event had under 100 people; 380 people signed in for the event on Thursday. She said the commission’s last big job fair attracted over 800 people.
Charles Conner, regional manager with Texas Workforce Commission Texas Veterans Leadership Program, was on site to help serve veterans.
“We assist veterans getting back into the community. Sometimes it is employment, counseling, and job training. It’s good knowing around Veteran’s Day there are people out there that care enough to take time out to offer jobs to veterans. We’ve opened it up to everybody, but that was the main focus. For the employer’s sake, we try to have multiple job seekers.
Conner said it can be challenging for a veteran transitioning back into civilian life. One issue is they can sometimes fall behind on training. He also said veterans learn a specific lingo in the military that doesn’t translate easily to the civilian workforce, but veterans also have unique strengths to offer an employer.
“A veteran might be a little behind on some areas, but they have a strong attitude, experience showing up to work on time, strong teamwork and a lot of soft skills that set them above the rest. It’s good to see so many employers supporting this.” Conner said.
The American Legion Post 29 was one of the veteran’s support groups on site. They were present to help veterans learn about benefits available to them.
Brian Brockett, a 21-year U.S. Army vet with the Post, said the event means a lot to veterans.
“We’ve had a few veterans come by and realize they had benefits they weren’t aware of,” he said.
Workforce Solutions Texoma joined the 28 total development boards and the Texas Veteran’s Commission to hold events in 29 cities across the state.
“Our nation’s heroes have unmatched skills, advanced training and proven leadership capabilities that are highly sought after by employers,” said TWC Chair Ruth Ruggero Hughs. “Each year as we celebrate Veterans Day, TWC’s Hiring Red, White & You! events provide a venue for employers to meet with and hire more veterans as they expand their workforces with these exceptional men and women.”