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PHOTO CAPTION:  An Army Reserve soldier speaks with a recruiter during the Hire Our Heroes job fair the New York National Guard hosted at the Farmingdale Armed Forces Reserve Center on Wednesday, Aug. 14. The Hire our Heroes program is sponsored by the United States Chamber of Commerce and is designed to match veterans and members of the Guard and Reserve, as well as military family members, up with companies interested in tapping into their skills. (U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Maj. Al Phillips, New York Army National Guard)

August 15, 2013
By Maj. Al Phillips

 

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. - More than 300 veterans and members of the National Guard and Reserve showed up to look for work Wednesday, Aug. 14 at the Hire Our Heroes job fair hosted by the New York National Guard at the Armed Forces Reserve Center.

"This is our third hiring event, and each time, we see a greater participation from both the veterans looking for employment and the employers," New York Army National Guard Capt. David Myones, the job fair coordinator said.

Army Reserve Spc. Sherida Thomas, a member of the 678th Transportation Company, said it was great to find employers who wanted people with military skills like hers.

"I am very upbeat about being here and excited to see so many employer tables open to meeting us and discussing how our military specialty skills may relate to positions within their organizations," the Mount Vernon, N.Y., resident said.

Recruiters from 86 companies, each with at least five job openings to fill, were represented at the job fair.

Among employers present were Verizon, Fedex, Nestle, Garden State Growers, Coastal Environmental Group, and North Shore LIJ Health System as well as the New York Police Department, New York State Police, Suffolk County Police Department and Federal Bureau of Prisons were represented as well.

The Hiring Our Heroes program is an initiative of the United States Chamber of Commerce designed to link veterans and members of the Reserve and National Guard up with employers who want their skills.

Over Hiring Our Heroes 500 job fairs have been held since then across the country and Puerto Rico. The New York National Guard has hosted job fairs in Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester, Binghamton, and New York City. Future Hiring Our Heroes events are planned for the Hudson Valley and the Albany area in the coming weeks.

More than 18,000 veterans and military spouses have obtained employment through the "Hiring Our Heroes" job fairs, said retired Lt. Col. Kathryn Poynton, the national director of events for the Hiring Our Heroes program.

"What I like is the fact that there are so many people and resources here to identify the job opportunities for a young person like myself who believes it is possible to get a job," said Pvt. Roy Rini, a member of Company F, 427th Brigade Support Battalion.

"Opportunities like today should exist more because these young men and women served and/or continue to serve honorably-they deserve our thanks and much more," said Michael Stahl, a career and employment specialist for the City University of New York.

"Everyone who serves deserves to work, simple as that," he said.

Stahl's efforts to find jobs for veterans and members of the Guard and Reserve were recognized by Maj. Gen. Patrick Murphy, the adjutant general of New York, who thanked him for his efforts and presented him with token of appreciation.

The Hiring Our Heroes events are sponsored by local groups along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The Farmingdale event was also supported by the University of Phoenix, the Suffolk County Veterans Service Agency, the Farmingdale Chamber of Commerce, the New York State Department of Labor, the New York Committee for Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve, the U.S. Department of Labor Veterans Employment and Training Service, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, and The American Legion.