Job Fair for veterans, families next week

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

NASHVILLE -- A three-day Employment Assistance Workshop is to be held in Smyrna and it's open to National Guard members, Reservists, and all veterans, Tennessee's adjutant general has announced.

It is also open to spouses, and is completely free to all participants, Maj. Gen. Max Haston said. The workshop is set for July 26-28 at the National Guard Regional Training Institute, Building 500, in Smyrna. Registration is at 7:45 a.m. July 26.

"The military is like a big family," Haston said. "We're all taught to look out for our buddies and that's what this program is all about. Some service members have returned from Iraq or Afghanistan to find the place where they used to work is no longer in business, and now they're out there looking. We're trying to help them every way we can."

It will be a busy three days of classes focusing on analyzing skills veterans' have attained through their military service, effective job search strategies, writing resumes and cover letters, and even mock interviews. The final day, July 28, will be a "job fair" with employers in attendance.

"This is an opportunity not only for our Guard and Reserve members and their spouses, but all veterans," pointed out Marvin Wells, state Executive Director for the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). ESGR has partnered with the Department of Labor Veterans' Employment & Training Service Office to provide professionally trained presenters.

"This is the 13th such workshop we've held in the last 10 months and they've all been very successful. We're expecting a large turnout in Smyrna." He emphasized that the workshop is not simply for the unemployed, but for those who feel they might be underemployed.

One of the attendees at a recent workshop in Kingsport was Spec. Anthony Collins, currently employed but hoping to find something that paid a little more. "I thought I was pretty good at doing interviews," Collins said, "then they pointed out things I did wrong, so it was good to learn something that's going to help me."

A father of four was a plant manager, but when he returned from deployment to Iraq the plant had closed. "Things have changed, he said. "You have to get with the times and understand the most effective way to get in front of the employer... and what to do when you get there."

Employers already set to be at the Job Fair include: HCA/Tri-Star, Dollar General, Metro Police Dept., Tenn. Highway Patrol, Vanderbilt, Gaylord, UPS, Rite Aid, Auto Personnel, Conway Trucking, Charles Bass Correctional Facility, IO Studio, Bank of America, National College, Dept. of Labor Career Center, and Employer Partnership of the Armed Forces.

Those planning to attend may register early by contacting Joe Thomas at 615-313-0752 or e-mail