SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3/KSPR) - Everyday there are thousands of veterans looking for jobs right here in the Ozarks. That's why the Missouri Job Center and the American Legion Goad-Ballinger Post 69 are teaming up to host a hiring event geared toward veterans and their families.
"We are the largest veterans organization in the United States," said Retired U.S. Navy Chief Steven Wilcox of the American Legion. Wilcox also serves as the new Adjutant for Post 69 in Springfield. He said some big changes are coming to the organization since the Legion Act was passed just two-months ago, making it easier for younger veterans to join. "It is now allowing veterans from World War II up until today to be able to join the Legion," he said.
Wilcox said feeling supported is one of the biggest challenges young veterans face after serving our country. "That one-on-one talk and being able to let stuff out and share with people who've been there helps a lot," said Wilcox.
Another challenge is getting a job.
"There's not much call for tank drivers in the civilian world," said Sabrina Bonnette with the Missouri Job Center. Bonnette is also a Retired U.S. Navy Chief and a Charter Member of Women Veterans of Southwest Missouri Post 1214. "We have 285,000 veterans in the Springfield-metro area and 4,000 of them are unemployed."
Bonnette said Thursday's hiring event will be filled with employers who know veterans bring a lot more than just a resume to an interview. "In the military, our integrity is we do what we say we're going to do," began Bonnette. "We also bring that intrinsic leadership."
Wilcox added that these jobs are a lot more than just a paycheck to these veterans. "They live with those memories for the rest of their life and how they cope with it, how their friends and family helps them cope with it," began Wilcox. "Jobs keep them occupied and keeps them busy doing things to build their life back up."
In honor of Veteran’s Day, the Missouri Job Center and the American Legion Goad-Ballinger Post 69 are hosting a Veterans Hiring Fair on Thursday, November 14, from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The post is located at 149 Memorial Plaza, behind the Shrine Mosque. The event is open to all Veterans, transitioning service members, Reservists, National Guard, military spouses, military family members and civilian job seekers. Those interested just need to bring a resume.
The participating companies are listed below:
Amprod Holdings LLC
Burrell Behavioral Health
Simos Insourcing Solutions
Integrity Home Care
Bass Pro Shops
Springfield Public Schools
Arrow Senior Luxury Living
Navy Reserve Recruiting
Wonders of Wildlife
Citizens Memorial Hospital
Springfield Police Dept
Central Bank of the Ozarks
Poor Boy Tree Service
Missouri National Guard and Vital Farms