Huntsville hosts Hiring Our Heroes job fair - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Huntsville hosts Hiring Our Heroes job fair

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The U.S. and Huntsville chambers of commerce and other local partners are sponsoring the event. The U.S. and Huntsville chambers of commerce and other local partners are sponsoring the event.

Huntsville businesses are coming together to help America's war heroes in need of jobs.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will host the Hiring Our Heroes job fair in Huntsville on Tuesday to connect veterans with prospective employers.

There is a lot of concern about big cuts expected to hit defense contractors since that is an area where veterans often find they fit in well. On the other hand, 45 employers are expected at Hiring Our Heroes, so there are opportunities and businesses specifically looking for vets.

"It's kind of a thin market out there for veterans," said Iraq veteran Ryan Dohrmann.

He and his wife hope for better job opportunities.

Vets like Dohrmann say businesses seem to want to welcome those with military experience.

But as businesses and veterans ramp up for the next Hiring Our Heroes job fair, advocates say the challenge is the paperwork to document skills vets already have. That is one reason Dohrmann is working part time and going to college.

"There's a disconnect between what they know from their military service and what the civilians have to have credentials for," said Bill Koch with Still Serving Veterans.

Veterans and their advocates say, independent of any skill sets or certifications, it's the intangibles that make the veteran different and exceptional, something they hope employers can recognize.

"Leadership, decision making, communications skills - the list goes on and on," said veteran Thomas Glenn.

"In the civilian world, to be in charge of 10 to 20 to 30 people, is a lot of times looked at as an executive role," Dohrmann said.

With a million veterans unemployed, advocates say preparing them and helping them make connections becomes crucial.

"It's frustrating at times, but I just have to keep moving forward, keep praying," said Glenn.

Still Serving Veterans said the job squeeze for veterans could actually get tighter soon as thousands of troops get demobilized and the military draws down its forces in the face of past, and upcoming, defense cuts. 

The Hiring Our Heroes job fair is Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 12 noon at the Huntsville Marriott.

The U.S. and Huntsville chambers of commerce and other local partners are sponsoring the event. 

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