East Tennessee companies look to hire veterans at expo

East Tennessee companies look to hire veterans at expo

Posted:
Business owners say they're looking for veterans because of their military training and experience. Business owners say they're looking for veterans because of their military training and experience.

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The national unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent in December. However, for young veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, the jobless rate went above 13 percent.

To help change that rate 150 companies, mostly from East Tennessee, joined in a two-day expo at the Knoxville Convention Center aimed at putting veterans to work.

Jeremy Barton is one of the nearly 2,000 veterans who attended the "Hiring Our Heroes" event. He served in the Army National Guard and was deployed to Iraq in 2010.

Barton came off active duty in August and still hasn't been able to find a job.

"Finding a job, I've got a list on an email of about 100 different places and have sent out about 50 different applications, but nothing. There's just no one hiring right now," he said.

Despite this, Barton attended the 2nd Annual Business and Education Expo. The event is put on by the local non-profit Tennessee Veterans Business Association.

Dave Hayner is one of the 150 veteran business owners with a booth at the expo. He owns Veterans Contracting Solutions Group.

"I am actually hiring. I'm looking for a few more veterans to add to my staff and I'm also networking. This is a business to business event and I'm here to generate more business," Hayner said.

More than 60 companies are hiring, and business owners say they're looking for veterans because of their military training and experience.

"A veteran brings so many intangible skills to the table, the leadership training, teamwork, the ability to complete the mission and overcome obstacles," Hayner explained.

He says it can be difficult for young veterans to transition to the civilian workforce. Plus, employers may not know how a veteran's training can help their business.

Barton says he manned the gun on a military vehicle while he was deployed, but he learned many lessons that will help in the civilian workforce as well.

"The biggest thing I learned is that, you know, it doesn't matter what you're trained to do, you might have to do something else so you need to be very versatile," he said.

Barton hopes he finds a job at the expo. "I have a wife and a six month old at home to pay for, but I'll find work eventually even if I have to work at two gas stations," he said.

The date for next year's expo is January 21-22, 2013.

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WATE. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.