Veterans, businesses find challenges in hiring
A new initiative called "Hiring our Heroes" aims to get veterans back into the civilian workforce, but some vets are finding that it's easier said than done.
Aaron Pritchett loves to ride, but he would rather be working. When Pritchett enlisted in the National Guard, he figured he'd be deployed, or get valuable job experience. Neither happened. Pritchett is unemployed and living with his parents.
"Once I find a job I can move out and start a family," he said.
Satellite communications training hasn't even landed him an interview.
"I am not getting anything back. I've put in applications, resume after resume and I'm not having anything back," he said.
Pritchett's story is similar to those of thousands of American's newest veterans. In 2011, unemployment among Gulf War Era vets was nearly 16 percent. That's almost twice the national average. Since then, companies large and small have vowed to make hiring veterans a priority.
But companies going out of their way to hire veterans are finding it more difficult than they counted on. They have to match the right vet with the right skills for the right job.
At a huge job fair in April, National Guard officials say just 100 vets landed interviews, 45 received job offers and only 32 went to work.
Hogan Moving needs drivers, office workers and sales people. The company sought out veterans.
"We've had a few opportunities, but not the volume we anticipated," said Dave Gregg, Hogan Moving & Transfer. Gregg says they did not hire anyone from the last job fair.
Companies say it's often difficult seeing how military experience applies to the work place. Veterans say employers don't see what military has taught them.
A "Hiring our Heroes" job fair will be held Sept. 18th at Bankers Life Fieldhouse from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Employers and partners include Panther Racing, Walmart, Sam's Club, Pacers Sports & Entertainment, the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), the Indiana Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, The American Legion, and the Department of Labor Veterans' Employment & Training Service (DOL VETS).