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American Legion Job Fair Aims To Help Unemployed Veterans

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The American Legion is using its 100th Annual Convention to help connect unemployed veterans with jobs.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Department of Labor helped put on the military job fair.

WCCO's Reg Chapman shares what it takes to make a veteran's military work attractive to civilian employers.

"I'm looking for something more technical or IT-related. I was in the Signal Corp in the Army," said Andrew Enright.

Andrew Enright, a 28-year-old Iraq War veteran, hopes his service to country translates into a job.

"I've been looking for a permanent job for about three months now and I definitely feel this is going to help out a lot," Enright said.

Enright joined dozens of other veterans at this military job fair, hosted by the American Legion. All looking to impress an employer and land a job.

"We have to train the employer on the value veterans bring. A huge part of that is translating their military skill set," said John Kamin.

Director of Veteran Employment and Education for the American Legion, John Kamin, says highlighting the leadership skills and how well veterans work in a team setting allows employers to see the value in hiring a worker with military experience.

"A big change in the way we look at veterans is removing the concept that it is a charity to hire a veteran. It's not a charity, it's an investment and it's a smart one so these job fairs coming in here and looking at this is an excellent opportunity to get top tier employees to recruit them," Kamin said.

Companies like Minnesota-based 3M have been hiring veterans for years. 3M looks for military careers that can be helpful to the company.

"Some of the skill craft roles, electricians, mechanics carry over very nicely," Chris Kondo said.

3M created fellowships and internships to get veterans what they need to be successful.

"And it's been a great experience for them to get hands on experience and we've been able to hire some individuals through this," Kondo said.

For Enright, help with his resume, a luncheon for networking with employers and this job fair are sure to put him on the right track for employment.

Minnesota's unemployment rate is 3.1 percent, while the unemployment rate for veterans is 2.9 percent.

Veterans are seeing lots of employers wanting and needing their skill set.

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