june 12, 2012

Over 250 Veterans attend First Major Veterans Job Fair in Middlesex County Held by the GI Go Fund and Rutgers University

This event was the first major veterans job fair of the year in Middlesex county. Over 60 businesses and organizations participated in this event

Col. Steven Abel(r), Director of Rutgers Veterans Services, meets with veterans to discuss their potential future as students at Rutgers University

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – Over 250 veterans, military personnel and their families attended the “Job and GI Bill Fair” in New Brunswick, hosted by the GI Go Fund in partnership with Rutgers Veterans Services.

This event was the first major veterans job fair of the year in Middlesex county, giving veterans from all parts of New Jersey, as well as vets in the tristate area, a great opportunity to find work in their backyard. Over 60 businesses and organizations participated in this event, including Johnson & Johnson, Prudential, PNC Bank, SetFocus, Cablevision, FBI and PA State Police

Employers from across the state and region were eager to take advantage of the new Federal VOW to Hire Heroes Act, which provides a tax credit of up to $9,600 to employers who hire veterans.

Ashley, 31, and Kyle Ayars, 29, a South Jersey couple who met while stationed in North Carolina and served together as Marines in Iraq, said they were grateful for the event’s many opportunities. They added that they hoped to land careers with higher pay, better health benefits and a retirement plan.

“We’re just trying to take advantage of a good opportunity,” Ashley said. “I think this is one.”

Kyle added, “It has a lot of good possibilities. It seems like people are really going out of their way. It seems like people here are really going above and beyond to help us.”

The “Job and G.I. Bill Fair” also included colleges and universities looking to enroll veterans who wish to utilize their Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to earn their degree.

“I want veterans to learn about their GI Bill benefits,” said GI Go Fund Executive Director Jack Fanous. “I want them to go back to school. The unemployment rate is high for everybody right now. The economy is not great right now, so rather than spend the next four years on the unemployment line, consider using your GI Bill to go back to the classroom. Consider getting a college degree, and then get a job as the economy turns around.”

“Some of the veterans, quite frankly, need to improve their resumes, need to become more marketable,” said Col. Steven Abel, Director of Rutgers Veterans Services. “One of the ways to do that is to go to school. It’s important for folks to know that most of the four-year schools — in addition to offering degrees — offer certification courses that could boost a veteran’s resume.”

Veterans are currently facing an unemployment rate of 12.7%, far higher than the national average for civilians. In addition, among 18- to 24-year-old veterans, nearly one in four were out of work.

Despite these alarming statistics, a new study reported by the USA Today shows that employers are becoming more eager to hire veterans. According to the Center for a New American Security, 70% of businesses believe that hiring a vet is good for business, stating that they had leadership skills, purpose, direction and motivation that made them attractive job-seekers. About half the companies said they were impressed with veterans' character — trustworthiness, dependability, integrity and maturity.

“The findings in this study are an important step forward for the tens of thousands of veterans who are unemployed, and for the thousands of American companies who are considering hiring veterans in the coming months,” said Fanous. “Thankfully, to companies like Johnson & Johnson, PSEG, and the countless others who will be attending this upcoming job fair, and who have attended the numerous ones we have hosted in the past, this study just reaffirms everything they already knew about the value vets can bring to a business. But to all the companies who may still be on the fence, there is only one way to find out if this study is true or not: come to a job fair, hire a veteran, and see for yourself.”

Sponsors and partners for the event include Rutgers University, Johnson & Johnson, PNC Bank, SetFocus, Prudential Financial, Felician College, Greater Media, WMGQ Magic 98.3 FM, WCTC 1450 AM, 105.5 WDHA, WMTR AM 1250, WWTR 1170, WRAT 95.9 FM, Magic 100.1-FM, and 89.5 FM WSOU.