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Published: Tuesday, 5/19/2009

1-day job fair set for veterans in Dundee

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

DUNDEE, Mich. - Military veterans, who Labor Department officials say are among the hardest hit by the economic downturn, will have the opportunity to match their skills, education, and work experience with prospective employers at a job fair here next week.

A job fair geared toward veterans in Monroe and Lenawee counties will take place May 28 at Dundee Veterans Memorial, also known as the Moore-Lenz-Wakefield VFW Post 6462, at 418 Dunham St., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

It is among a series of job and career placements put together by Michigan Department of Energy Labor and Economic Growth, veterans organizations, and Michigan Works!

The first two hours of the job fair will be for military veterans only. The general public will be allowed into the event at noon.

With the state's March unemployment rate at 12.6 percent - the highest in the country, job-fair organizers are expecting a large turnout. There is no cost for job seekers to attend.

Rob Weiss, Michigan's VEW adjutant-quarter master and a Vietnam veteran, said the collaboration with state employment services began about four years ago, in part, because of the demand from businesses for veterans.

"Most of the employers who signed up for the job fairs were looking for people who were in the military and who have the discipline they learned in the service," he said.

The job fair is Dundee is the fourth in a series of employment opportunities for veterans. Others were held at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Dow Diamond stadium in Midland, and the National Guard Armory in Grand Rapids.

Richard Kryza, state veterans coordinator for the Department of Labor & Economic Growth in the Bureau of Workforce Transformation, said about 2,000 people turned out for the job fair April 9 at the minor league baseball stadium in Midland.

"The need for this has been great since the beginning of the conflict due to the fact that guard members and reservists have been going to Iraq and Afghanistan, coming home, and being deployed again," he said.

According to Labor Department reports, unemployment among younger Iraq and Afghanistan veterans ages 20 to 24 was 15 percent in February. In comparison, unemployment for the same ages of non veterans was 13.8 percent.

Among the companies that have signed up for the Dundee job fair in search of prospects are the Federal Correctional Institution Bureau of Prisons, Michigan Department of Corrections, Meijer, FedEx, and the Michigan Civil Service Commission.

Mr. Weiss and Mr. Kryza said the nonveterans are welcome to attend the job fair as well as non-Michigan residents.



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