Almost as if it were more than coincidence, about 200 people packed the auditorium in the Wilmington University administration building Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015 to participate the school’s “Operation Success” job fair sponsored by the US Chamber of Commerce’s ongoing “Hiring Our Heroes” initiative — the same day Delaware Gov. Jack Markell’s gave his annual state-of-the-state address championing strong support of veterans employment (see http://wp.me/p55mkx-3k).
The job fair was like a who’s who of Delaware businesses.
Large, medium, and small companies and government agencies from Citibank, to Horizon Services, to Bayshore Ford, to Christiana Care, to DART were there for one thing – to lure the exceptional talent of returning military veterans to their organization.
These organizations were unanimous about one thing — military veterans – regardless of service branch – have all the skills in place to make organizations successful now and into the future.
“We truly and honestly believe veterans are an asset,” said Saira Mahmud an HR professional at Christiana Care. “They represent an elite group in our workforce.”
And while it may be an elite talent pool there are some challenges bringing the two groups together, said Bill Potter Deputy Director of the Delaware Workforce Investment Board (DWIB).
“With about one percent of our population serving in uniform there is sometimes a language problem creating a barrier between veterans and hiring officials,” he said. “It is sometimes difficult for the veteran job seeker to put his/her experiences into a format that is easily understandable in this highly competitive job market.”
To help veterans learn refine their skills in the new language, Goodwill Inc., The Delaware Department of Labor, The DWIB, and volunteers such as Nancy Sakaduski of Cat and Mouse Publishing who made the trek from Lewes, Del. to help, reviewed resumes throughout the morning
Many just needed some fine tuning while others needed major surgery.
“These veterans have so many skills, they are surely the labor pool of first resort,” Potter said. “Most of them just have to sit down and do a thorough audit of their accomplishments and link up with a good military skills translator.”
Veterans in suits, business dresses, and business casual attire moved from table-to-table handing out resumes and conducting mini on-the spot interview.
While it is too soon to tally job offers, one business representative put it all in perspective.
“Great day,” she said. “Great talent pool and I got everything I needed.”