march 13, 2012

Over 500 Veterans attend GI Go Fund’s 4th Annual “Job and GI Bill Fair” in Newark

More than 70 exhibitors, including nearly 50 employers from all fields were on hand to meet with the veterans and let them know what opportunities are available at their companies

From left, G.I. Go Fund Deputy Director Alex Manis, Rutgers University Director of Veterans’ Services Stephen Abel, Mayor Cory Booker, Adjutant  General Michael L. Cunniff, and GI Go Fund Executive Director Jack Fanous.

NEWARK, NJ – Over 500 veterans and their spouses looking improve their future were in attendance at the GI Go Fund’s 4th Annual “Job and GI Bill Fair” at Rutgers-Newark’s Paul Robeson Campus Center to meet with potential employers and educators looking to enroll qualified vets.

More than 70 exhibitors, including nearly 50 employers from all fields were on hand to meet with the veterans and let them know what opportunities are available at their companies. Businesses this year have extra incentive to hire veterans, as the new Federal Vow to Hire Heroes Act provides a tax credit of up to $9,600 to employers who hire veterans.

Sean Cavanaugh, a former US Army Captain in Iraq who was hired at last year’s job fair by Johnson & Johnson, was at this year’s event representing the company. He knows the benefit of hiring a veteran, both as a returning soldier and now as an employer.

“After the bullets stop flying and the din of battle has faded, many veterans decide to complete their honorable service to the United States and enter the civilian workforce as experienced and seasoned professionals, only to encounter a new type of harsh reality - one of high unemployment and difficult transitions,” he said. “Luckily I attended last year’s GI Go Fund Veterans Job and GI Bill Fair at Rutgers-Newark, which turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made after securing a career with a great company, Johnson & Johnson.”

Newark Mayor Cory Booker , along with Adjutant General (Acting) Michael Cunniff of the NJ National Guard and Director of Veterans Services for Rutgers University Col. (Ret.) Steve Abel, were on hand to address the audience of veterans, employers, educators, and service providers scheduled to attend about their commitment to helping our former service members.

“Those people who fought for freedom should not be burdened by the shackles of unemployment. If you are qualified to serve in the military, you are qualified to work in the private sector. Today I am proud to do the right things for those who did the right things for us” said Booker.

Al Sczweck of Johnson & Johnson at 2012 "Job and GI Bill Fair

"Veterans' transition and unemployment is not a stranger to our nation's history. Reservists, National Guardsmen and Veterans who return from active duty are not immune to employment struggles that face our state and nation," said Brig. Gen. Michael Cunniff, the Acting Adjutant General of the New Jersey National Guard. "The employers here today recognize the value of hiring Veterans and this job fair is another step in the right direction to ensure New Jersey Veterans are afforded employment opportunities after their honorable and faithful service to our country."

“This event brings the most qualified group of men and women in one room with dozens of potential employers.” said Jack Fanous, Executive Director of the GI Go Fund. “The men and women who have served in the armed forces make great employees. Nowhere else can you find such dedicated and hard-working or disciplined workers. Our theme for the event is to ‘Go get ‘em.’ To the veterans who are looking for work, ‘Go get ‘em.’ To the employers who are looking to hire qualified workers, ‘Go get ‘em.’”

In addition, there was information for veterans and their families on programs and benefits for veterans, including the GI Bill. Educational institutions that accept the GI Bill were also present. These included Rutgers University, Felician College, Thomas Edison State College, Montclair State University, Berkeley College, Princeton University, and Drew University.

“The Rutgers Veterans Services Team is grateful to the G.I. Go Fund Team for hosting today’s Job and GI Bill Fair and to Mayor Cory Booker for his unwavering support of our veterans. The veteran unemployment rate is unacceptably high. This is especially disappointing given that veterans are good for the bottom line of any

business or company. Veterans are valuable team members who are dependable, resourceful and possess unique skill sets such as their proven ability to lead under pressure. Hire a vet…you won’t be sorry,” said Colonel (Ret.) Stephen Abel, Director of Veterans Services for Rutgers University.

Employers from across the state and region have been eager to take advantage of the new Vow act, which was highlighted last week at a press conference promoting the “Job and GI Bill Fair” by the bill’s co-sponsor, Senator Robert Menendez.

Veteran Keith Menscher speaks with the NJ State Police

“I am so pleased to stand here today with a few of America’s finest young people,” said Menendez. “I introduced the Vow to Hire Heroes Act because I believe it is our responsibility as a nation to help those men and women who helped us. They made us proud with their accomplishments in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we must do all we can to ensure they succeed in the next phase of their lives.”

Sponsors and partners for the event include Rutgers University, Thomas Edison State College, Berkeley College, Felician College, Johnson & Johnson, Montclair State University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Star Ledger, Drew University, NJ Chamber of Commerce, the City of Newark, NewarkWORKS, and Newark One Stop Center for Career Development.

More than 70 businesses and organizations registered in advance and attended this event, including PSEG, Johnson & Johnson, Prudential, Wakefern, Merck, Wells Fargo, Saint Barnabas Health Care System, FBI, New Jersey State Police, New York State Police, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey,Veracity Research Company, Actavis, Trico Equipment Services LLC, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Princeton University (Human Resources), United States Army Reserve, QualCare Inc, Emerald Financial of MassMutual, New Brunswick Saw Service, Pearson, Helmets to Hardhats, Reaology, Securitas Security Services USA, Inc., Kaizen Technologies, Morris County Communications Center, Marsh & McLennan Agency, LLC, Wyotech/CCI, Maverick Building Services, Sanofi Aventis, Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, Sterling Security, Valley National Bank, Rutgers University, Thomas Edison State College, Montclair State University, Berkeley College – Newark, Berkeley College -Woodland Park, Felician College, NJIT, Seton Hall University, University of Phoenix, Bloomfield College, Wyotech/CCI, Devry University/Keller Graduate School, Ramapo College, Allied American University, New Jersey Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs, US Green Building Council of New Jersey, New Jersey Veteran Helpline (UMDNJ), NJ Department of Labor One Stop Career Center of Newark and East Orange, Newark WORKS, Social Security Administration, Church & Dwight, Co., Inc., Maverick Building Services, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Veterans Affairs, OPERATION CHILLOUT, NJ Veteran Business Outreach Center (NJVetBiz), Veterans Health Administration, Newark VA Regional Office (VBA – Voc. Rehab), Vet Center (Bloomfield and Secaucus), Congressional Glaucoma Caucus, Jersey Cares, Department of Labor and Workforce Development, and Talent Networks.