Jeremy Foney fills out an application for employment at Hiring Our Heroes job fair held at Lake Charles Civic Center Tuesday. (Michelle Higginbotham / Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Thursday, August 09, 2012 11:07 AM
After serving for a year overseas in the Army, Sulphur native Christopher Green hopes to land a job close to home.
“When we got home from Iraq it was so hard to find a job — just anywhere — that your experience overseas or in the military could suffice,” said Green, who spent more than six years in the military.
Green is seeking employment in law enforcement and was among the 292 veterans and military spouses Tuesday who attended the Hiring Our Heroes job fair at the Lake Charles Civic Center.
“I’m glad to see this is going on,” Green said. “I just got out last year, and I haven’t seen anything like this yet.”
Green said the most difficult transition has been the lapse between his salary overseas and the amount of money he can make outside of the Army.
“You can make roughly $40-$50,000 a year, tax-free, overseas, and back home you can only make like $30,000 a year with taxes,” Green said. “You can’t support a family off of that, and I think they are expecting a lot when we come home.”
He said it’s important to learn a trade or get more education to be qualified for jobs that pay well.
The job fair, hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, targeted veterans and military spouses. Participating companies included Cheniere, Entergy, Shaw, Lowe’s, L’Auberge Casino Resort and the Lake Charles Police Department.
Ernie Lombardi, with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the job fair was a success. He said there were 51 employers, 545 resumes collected, 96 interviews conducted and 24 conditional offers made.
Since its launch in March 2011, Hiring Our Heroes has held more than 220 job fairs nationwide, helping more than 10,000 veterans and military spouses find work.
Staff Sgt. Brett Bergeron has been in the military and National Guard for 10 years and a recruiter for six years.
“This is very important,” Bergeron said of the job fair. “When you’re a veteran, you want to know that your community supports you and wants you to find a job.”
L’Auberge talent specialist Tiffany Hudson said the casino supports hiring military veterans.
“We have lots of different positions for them, like security and surveillance — things that may fit a little bit of what they did in the military,” she said.
Michael Johnson, a retired Marine, was at the job fair to inform military members of the opportunities at Red Rock College, which gives three-week job training in crane and heavy-equipment operation.
“I know what it’s like to come out of the service,” Johnson said. “They didn’t have these job fairs when I retired, so they are a very good opportunity for vets getting out or getting ready to get out to plan their future beyond the military.”
Entergy spokesman Chip Arnould said the utility is big enough and diverse enough that there is something available for every skill set.
“This is a way to put a face to a name,” Arnould said. “We still encourage them to go and apply online, but you can always connect it back to meeting someone at the Hiring Our Heroes event.”