Wednesday, November 25, 2009

USS Intrepid Serves Those Who Served With Job Fair


The New York State Department of Labor held a special job fair this week for the state's veterans.

NY1 Employment reporter Asa Aarons was there and filed the following report.

There was a time when 1,000 military members on line to board the USS Intrepid meant one thing – war. It still does, though now it’s a different combatant, a battle with late mortgages sinking credit, and dwindling grocery supplies.

Today’s military veterans are face to face with the enemy called unemployment.

The New York States Depart of Labor chose the Intrepid for a career fair this week featuring 75 companies offering more than 2,000 jobs.

In the shadows of the world’s fastest, strongest, most aggressive machinery, veterans are donning the new battlefield armor, a business suit and updated resume.

With unemployment at nearly 15 percent for the state’s veterans, soldiers-turned-jobseekers poured in from every area and every era.

“Vets, we paid our dues,” said vet Charise Herbert. “Serving in Iraq, putting my life on the line.”

“I served in the Vietnam War,” said vet Victor Cotto.

Regardless of the era of service or military branch, veterans are known to bring strong qualities to the workplace.

“They are true professionals with a strong work ethic,” said Pedro Rodriguez, an Air Force veteran.

The DOL serves nearly 50,000 veterans each year. At this event, in addition to job matching, the agency hoped to show area vets ways to expand and improve their job-hunting skills.

“We get someone to look at their resume, give them some tips on interviewing skills, and also to let them know where the jobs are,” explained Leo Rosales of the DOL.

“The times are tough now and anything they can do to help anyone find a job is greatly appreciated by everyone,” said job-seeking veteran Lee Drescher.

And, some of the opportunities available at the job fair are practically tailor made for veterans.

“Basically our requirements are 39 college credits,” said New York City Department of Corrections worker Mark Washington. “But if they served two years active in the military with an honorable discharge, it’s equivalent to the 39 college credits. So they don’t have to have the college education.”

The USS Intrepid is one of the world’s most famous docked vessels. With the job fair, it becomes a ship serving those who served, and bringing them from the storm to safe harbor.

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