Job fairs give veterans look at workplace
by Nikki Wiley
October 17, 2013 01:19 AM | 2361 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler announces the new Paychecks for Patriots program, aimed to help put veterans to work throughout the state as Major General Jim Butterworth, Adjutant General of the Georgia National Guard, listens in at Clay Georgia National Guard Center in Marietta on Wednesday. <br>Staff/Kelly J. Huff
Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler announces the new Paychecks for Patriots program, aimed to help put veterans to work throughout the state as Major General Jim Butterworth, Adjutant General of the Georgia National Guard, listens in at Clay Georgia National Guard Center in Marietta on Wednesday.
Staff/Kelly J. Huff
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MARIETTA — Georgia veterans will take the limelight at a series of job fairs today aimed at getting the state’s finest back to work.

The five career expos planned across the state today are a chance for veterans to network with employers who appreciate the skills those in uniform bring to the private sector, said Mark Butler, the state’s labor commissioner.

It’s all part of the “Paychecks for Patriots” program hosted by the Georgia Department of Labor, the Georgia National Guard and other state and corporate sponsors.

A variety of employers seeking to fill a range of jobs, such as management, technical and customer service positions, will be at the expo set for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Chattahoochee Technical College campus at 5189 Ross Road in Acworth.

Similar fairs will be in Columbus, Augusta, Warner Robins and Savannah.

The program is personal to Butler.

“I have a brother-in-law that is former Army and I have an adopted son that’s former Army,” Butler said.

Those family members know the struggle of finding employment when returning from deployment. Butler said his son told him upon his return, “You need to do more for the men and women coming back. … I’ve talked to a lot of them and they have a hard time finding work, and that’s not right.”

A similar program was launched in Tennessee and Florida. In Florida, 31 percent of those who attended found jobs.

“I think we can do better than Florida,” Butler said on Wednesday to a room of Georgia National Guard reservists.

Veterans are owed appreciation by their government, Butler said.

He touted the “soft skills” of veterans, like punctuality and work ethic.

There are many reasons why a veteran might not be able to find employment, said Georgia National Guard Maj. Gen. Jim Butterworth.

A job held before deployment may have been eliminated, and combat-related illnesses, such as post traumatic stress disorder, can complicate the process.

Many veterans who have found work have landed in law enforcement, but their skills are much more broadly represented, and the Paychecks for Patriots job fairs will reflect that diversity, Butler said.

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