Free events sponsored by The American Legion; many job openings for vets and their spouses
The American Legion is tackling the unemployment crisis among veterans with two events this month in Milwaukee, where its 92nd annual national convention will take place.
A day-long veterans job fair will be conducted in the Milwaukee Theater, Plankinton Hall on Saturday, Aug. 28th from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. A two-day small business development workshop will follow in the Hilton Milwaukee City Center, Wright Ballrooms, on Tuesday, Aug. 31st and Wednesday, Sept. 1st from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Military veterans and their spouses are invited to attend free of charge.
Event organizers say at least 15 government and private sector employers will be on hand at the Saturday job fair representing hundreds of employment opportunities for both military veterans and their spouses.
Organizers say entrepreneurs with military backgrounds will benefit greatly from the two-day small business development workshop the following Tuesday and Wednesday.
Experienced mentors will counsel attendees on the practical aspects of setting up a veteran-owned business from the vitally important development of a business plan to the landing of government contracts.
The Legion has been spearheading large job fairs and small business workshops nationwide for the past three years. For the Milwaukee events , the Legion has partnered with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development along with employment recruiters RecruitMilitary, HireVetsFirst and The Northeast Veterans Business Resource Center as well as veteran-owned firms Oak Grove Technologies and MicroTech.
This past spring, the U.S. Department of Labor quoted the unemployment rate for young veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as 21.1 percent in 2009. Meanwhile, the jobless rate among non-veterans in the same 18 to 24 age range was 16.6 percent. Unemployment among all working-age military veterans, according to the report, was 10.2 percent last year - still above the 9.3 percent national rate, a record high in itself since 1983.
"The American Legion has been aware of this situation for some time," said Joe Sharpe, the director of The American Legion's Economic Division in Washington, "and we are addressing it with frequent, well attended job fairs and business workshops, such as the ones scheduled in Milwaukee later this month.
"Given today's economic realities, the unemployment challenge among young veterans is especially difficult," continued Sharpe, "but we are doing everything we can to help our country's most deserving job seekers meet it."
The American Legion maintains an online Career Center with employment information for veterans. Visit www.legion.org/careers.