ONLEY –About 150 military veterans participated in a job fair Friday held especially for veterans. It was the first event of its kind on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.
Around 50 employers as well as 18 agencies that provide support to veterans were at the Hiring our Heroes event, held June 29 at Nandua High School.
The job fair also featured two seminars — one about how to effectively work a job fair and a second about how to negotiate salaries.
“The whole goal for this event is to connect veterans with the employers…We decided to make it easier by bringing the employers to them,” said Virginia Employment Commission Manager Arventa Smith.
“We’ve been very excited about bringing this event together. It’s been very positive,” she said.
The job fair was the result of the efforts of multiple organizations — the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Legion, the Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce, the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce, the Northampton County Chamber of Commerce, the Virginia Employment Commission, the Department of Labor’s Veterans Employment and Training Service, the Virginia Committee of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, Maryland Workforce Exchange and NBC News.
“What is different about this job fair is these people have already been employed — they’re looking for a second career,” said one of the employer representatives, Eastern Shore Rural Health’s Jeanette Edwards, noting veterans already have training and experience employers find valuable.
Among the employers participating in the job fair were two of the largest on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, Tyson Foods, Inc. and Perdue Farms Inc., as well as Wallops-area employers, banks, law enforcement agencies, health care organizations and others.
Congressman Scott Rigell’s representative, Sylvia Parks, also was available to answer veterans’ questions.
The U. S. Chamber has committed to holding the event again next year, Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jean Hungiville said.
Hungiville said four veterans had “solid job offers on the spot” during the fair, along with many more leads that were generated.