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Businesses seek area veterans at job fair
Georgia Southern University hosts the event organized by Barrow
W 082013 VET JOB FAIR 01
United States Air Force veteran Cameron Jones of Statesboro, right, inquires about employment with Pamela Copeland of CDI Marine Company during Tuesday's Veterans and Military Job Fair at Georgia Southern University's Nessmith-Lane Conference Center. U.S. Congressman John Barrow hosted the event for veterans, active military personnel, and spouses to connect with more than 70 businesses and agencies. Jones, a combat veteran who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, recently completed his degree at GSU and is currently looking for employment. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

Servicemen and women looking to begin a new chapter in their lives were provided an opportunity Tuesday at Georgia Southern University.

The college’s Nessmith-Lane Conference Center hosted a Veterans and Military Job Fair organized by the office of U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga.

More than 70 businesses and industries were represented at the event, each one looking to discuss job opportunities with people who have sworn to defend.

The job fair was open to military service veterans, active duty military personnel and with National Guard and reserve component troops and military spouses, Barrow said.

“This is a great opportunity to bring employers, who have various opportunities, to folks who weren’t even aware those jobs were there. This is a great learning experience,” Barrow said, during a kickoff to the event. “Our veterans are coming home facing a lot of challenges. Finding good jobs should not be one of them.”

Veterans and active-duty military personnel spent the better part of the morning — the event was scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. — speaking to several employers, who serve all parts of the country.

Local organizations — Statesboro Fire and Police departments, Georgia Southern, East Georgia State College, CSX and East Georgia Regional Medical Center — were on hand, along with several state and federal government agencies.

“This is great. I’ve gone to about three other events like this; and this is one of the better ones. There are a lot more businesses here,” said Allen Heigaard, a 22-year veteran of the United States Army.

Heigaard, 55, said he is retired from the armed services but would like to continue working.

“It can be tough (to find a job). Events like this really help,” he said. “And employers who attend really know the benefit of hiring someone with military service — dedicated employees who have demonstrated the ability to adapt with different situations.”

Tim Boatright, a Georgia Southern senior, said he hoped the event would allow him to get a foot in the door before graduation.

“I think it is great that we have employers coming in looking to find veterans to hire,” said Boatright, 24, a six-year Army veteran. “I have gotten a few smiles and business cards and, hopefully, I have made some connections.”
Barrow, Statesboro Mayor Joe Brannen and Georgia Southern University President Brooks Keel addressed attendees and employers before the event.

“This job fair is just one way we can give back and say ‘thank you’ to those who have served our country,” Brannen said. “The fair provides an ideal venue for recruits and businesses to meet face-to-face.”

Said Keel: “This is a truly wonderful event, and Georgia Southern is exceptionally proud to be able to host the workshop. We are very proud to be able to provide this resource for our military and their families so they may be active and productive citizens of this part of the world.”

Jeff Harrison may be reached at (912) 489-9454.

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