Returning soldiers seek employment at veteran job fair


| RubenMuniz@queenscourier.com |

THE COURIER/photo by Ruben Muniz
THE COURIER/photo by Ruben Muniz

Assemblymember Mike Miller (left) and State Senator Joe Addabbo (right) pose with Vets Helping Vets.

Veterans recently suited up, got their game face on and sprung into action.

A job fair for military veterans was held at The Shops at Atlas Park in Glendale on Friday, June 8. Over 90 companies and organizations were in attendance as well as State Senator Joe Addabbo and Assemblymember Mike Miller.

“Veterans have a lot of hurdles to jump over once they return,” Addabbo said.

The job fair comes at a time where many veterans are struggling to find employment. The unemployment rate for all veterans is 7.8 percent, below the national average of 8.2 percent, but nearly 13 percent of returning soldiers find themselves without a job,

“The transition from military to civilian life is challenging,” said Chris Bliss, a U.S. Army veteran who served overseas in Bosnia and Iraq.

Bliss was recruiting at the fair for NYC Business Solutions, a city government initiative offering free services for new small business owners.

“Life goes on after the service. You have to find a job,” said Bliss.

Ellis Gomez, a U.S. Navy veteran originally from Puerto Rico who has several years experience in the Navy as an electrical technician as well as degree in electrical engineering, said it has not been easy to land a job in this economy.

“[The job market] has a lot of ups and downs,” Gomez said, who was one of more than 100 vets at the fair.

U.S. Army vet and Queens resident Louis Goagioa felt that the discipline and humility of veterans gives them an edge in the job market.

“Veterans are much more coachable. They are ready to learn at all times,” said Goagioa. “It’s been more than difficult for veterans [to find a job]. It’s disheartening.” Addabbo stressed the importance of taking initiative to help veterans.

“We do a lot for our veterans, but we can still do more.”