'Hiring Our Heroes' pairs up companies with job-seeking veterans

CREATED Jan 25, 2013 - UPDATED: Jan 28, 2013

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  • Video by wtmj.com

  • Video by wtmj.com

  • Video by wtmj.com


MILWAUKEE - It's not easy to get a job these days, but the task can be especially difficult for veterans. That's why we've helped in an effort called ''Hiring Our Heroes''

Learn more about Hiring Our Heroes

Monday morning at the War Memorial. dozens of companies looked to hire veterans and their families who need a job

"I was a maintenance supervisor, then I got laid off," said veteran John Killeen, who spent 14 years in the U.S. Navy.

Killeen, who has been in and out of work for three years, hoped to find something at "Hiring Our Heroes."

"I've got two kids, so it's kind of tough right now with the economy.  Hopefully, I can hook someone in and get some employment."

More than 200 other vets, military members, guard and reserve members and their spouses came to the event.

The Wisconsin Office of Veterans Services said that on average, about 30 percent of veterans would get hired.

"Veterans are eminently trainable.  They're very used to working in team concepts.  When they're done with their portion of the job, they go along to help the teammate," said Greg Williams, an organizer of the event, to TODAY'S TMJ4's Melissa McCrady on "Live at Daybreak" Monday morning.

"At 8:00 a.m., GE is putting on a seminar to help veterans prepare for the job fair, prepare for resumes, prepare for interviews.  Anyone can come to that as long as they're a veteran, a spouse of a veteran, or a guard or reserve (member)."

The fair is designed to help those going through what Phillip Stalewski called "a hard transition."

It's the way Stalewski describes the move from the military to looking for a civilian job.

“It’s very easy for the veterans who come home, in any era, especially today, to isolate themselves,” he said.

Stalewski works for Dry Hootch. The veterans advocate says the prospect of looking for a job can be overwhelming. Unemployment among veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq continues to be high. Stalewski said some veterans looking for work don't even know where to begin.

“You have that very structured stable life, all of a sudden you come home and now you have choices and those choices can be scary,” he said.

“I think veterans have a lot of the core values that we possess and we look for our employees,” said Robert Metzinger with Outpost Natural Foods

Outpost is looking to hire about 20 veterans, because of expansion plans. Metzinger is in charge of human resources for the natural foods co-op and says they're targeting veterans specifically for their skills and ability to adapt.

“We’re not looking for someone who just wants to work in a set department, they're willing to help out in other departments and provide that customer service and i think the military possesses that type of quality,” said Metzinger.

Veterans looking for a job on Monday should bring an ID and a resume. You will need to pre-register, and you can do that by clicking here.