Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. — More than 40 companies and organizations hoping to hire men and women leaving the military held a job fair at Joint Base Lewis McChord Thursday. And potential employers say there has never been a better time for veterans to look for jobs in the civilian world.
Staff Sgt. Heather Hoopes is about to leave the Army and looking for work. “Something similar to what I’ve been doing in logistics, operations, transportation management,” Hoopes said.
Staff Sgt. David Farmer is retiring after a career with the Army and hoping to find a job in Pierce County. “You know, I’m looking for something in electronics repair, IT, something like that,” Farmer said.
Both are transitioning from the military to the job market at a good time. With unemployment under 4 percent, companies have to compete to get good employees. “You can basically search all these companies, you can look for a certain price and these companies are willing to put out the money,” said Recruit Military representative and retired Marine Doug Turner. “They’re starving for military talent.”
Dana Gudermuth with Core and Main, a company specializing in fire suppression and water supply systems agrees. “Absolutely, with a 3.9% unemployment rate we are always in a war for talent.”
Cassius Johnson with Pierce County is also a veteran, and was hoping to attract veterans to jobs with the county. Johnson said military experience brings a lot of value to the table. “Because they’ve had to be on time, they’ve had to accomplish a mission when they’ve had little to work with.”
Both Hoopes and Farmer say they hope those skills make them attractive job candidates. “Patience determination and self-awareness,” said Hoopes. “I don’t need training on any of those aspects so I feel when I show up to a job, I’m ready to do the job.”
“I’ve been a leader for almost 15 years,” adds Farmer. “So I have a lot of leadership and management experience that I know a lot of companies look for.”
President Trump recently signed a bill designed to also provide expanded federal job opportunities to military spouses, as well as soldiers leaving the service for civilian life.
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