Military leaders in the Midlands are putting the finishing touches on a huge event Tuesday aimed at reducing the unemployment rate when it comes to our nation's veterans and their spouses.
They risk their lives fighting for our country, but often return home to little or no work at all. There are signs of improvement though.
Last year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a drop of 1.3% in the jobless rate for vets to 7%. But that's higher than the unemployment rate for the rest of the country at 6.6%.
Even higher than that, the unemployment rate for post 9/11 vets, which sits at 9.9%. And the most recent numbers show 20% of veterans under 25 were without work in 2012.
"As the Army and the military decreases in size, we're going to have a lot of quality folks who are just not going to be able to remain in the service," said Col. Dan Beatty, Chief of Staff, Army Training Center at Fort Jackson. "What we need to do, is we have an obligation to facilitate their transition into civilian service."
That help is here for veterans. Tuesday, several agencies including the US and Columbia chambers of commerce and the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce are teaming up for Hiring our Heroes.
About 100 employers will be there, all making a commitment to hiring veterans and military spouses. And military leaders say what a valuable employee those companies will get.
"They are disciplined. They understand teamwork. They certainly know how to take direction and follow ordersand so they really are people who can become supervisors and leaders within an organization," said George Goldsmith, Chairman of Military Affairs Committee for Chamber of Commerce.
The job fair is open to veterans from all branches of the military, military members who are about to transition from service and military spouses. It's from 10 until 1 Tuesday at Fort Jackson in the Solomon Center at 6510 Strom Thurmond Blvd.
Veterans must provide proof of service. Walk-ins are welcome, but you can also register here.
Since it's launch in 2011, Hiring our Heroes has helped 240,000 veterans and military spouses land employment. And by the end of 2014 they hope to take that number to 500,000.