It's not hard to understand why a company like Wal-Mart chose to attend the Heroes to Hometowns Transition and Benefits Fair in Louisville at The American Legion's 91st National Convention.
"We're always looking for great people," said Cindy Frederico, Wal-Mart's marketing and human resources manager in Louisville. "We think this is an opportunity to find them."
Wal-Mart wasn't alone in that thinking, as 83 corporations, businesses, and federal and local government agencies rented booth space at the career fair. Amazon.com, CSX Transportation, General Electric, Home Depot, Tyson Foods, UPS and Anthem were there, as were representatives from the Transportation Safety Administration, Secret Service, U.S. Small Business Administration, and the departments of Labor, Commerce and Veterans Affairs.
"We are recruiting nationally right now for a lot of our consumer bank positions: tellers, personal bankers, managers," said Josh Renick, a staffing manager for Bank of America. "We've had tremendous success at military events."
Dan Dellinger, who chairs The American Legion National Economic Commission, said career fairs like the one in Louisville are critical right now."In this economic climate, we need more of these everywhere," he said. "They're
important for the veterans out there, and they're also important for those just now separating (from the military)."
Dellinger wasn't surprised by the quality of the vendors who had booths in Louisville. "I think these companies realize that the training a servicemember gets, along with the discipline they have, is what people want in an employee," he said. "They want people who can think on their feet."
About four hours into the career fair's first day, more than 300 prospective job applicants had already attended; Jonathan Lovett, who will leave the Marines in November, was among them.
"I think this is a very good thing for veterans and a good thing for active-duty guys," said Lovett, who is currently serving at Recruiting Station Louisville. "When you apply online, you are throwing pebbles in a pond. Here, you get face to face. You get to talk to someone. You're more than just a number or a piece of paper."