Edward Byrd, a Marine, talks with Shelton Daniels, a district advisor from First Command, at Post 176 in Springfield, Va. on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. Photo by Clay Lomneth/The American Legion

'Helping veterans seek employment ... is part of what the Legion stands for'

Hosting a job fair, as American Legion Post 176 in Springfield, Va., did on Feb. 15, is a direct reflection of the Legion’s values, members said.

“Getting people work is an important thing,” Post 176 manager Bob Eidsvoog said. “We talk about helping homeless, helping the veteran homeless, this is a way to help the community and veterans especially get jobs and support their families and live a comfortable life.”

“It reflects the Legion’s values based on the pillars that the Legion is founded on, part of that is helping veterans. Helping veterans seek employment, whether they’re unemployed or underemployed, helping veterans out is part of what the Legion stands for,” Post 176 Commander Ed Amoros added.

The Feb. 15 job fair was promoted by JobZone, a Virginia-based job fair organizer founded in 2005. In addition to job fairs at military bases around the area, JobZone brings a job fair to Post 176 three to four times a year.

JobZone CEO Janet Giles said her company’s relationship with The American Legion is a “win-win.”

“American Legion is always trying to connect and network with the veterans who should be a member, then they enjoy the events because it opens up horizons for companies and members of companies of veterans who can get more involved,” Giles said.

The job fair dedicated the first two hours exclusively to veterans, servicemembers, military spouses and cleared job seekers before opening up to the general public—a reflection of the Legion’s commitment to veterans as well as the community in general.

“We have found it extremely important to be involved in community events,” Eidsvoog said. “This is one effort that has been very successful.”

Giles said job fairs are important because “it’s the perfect opportunity to get your resume out there” to a number of companies at once.

Many veterans leaving service “have no idea what they want to do,” she added. “It builds that comfort zone where they can talk to a variety of industries and start narrowing their focus down, and then it builds that rapport with different recruiters and different industries, different companies.”

Amoros said the networking that can occur at job fairs is another important element.

“Years ago when I was looking for work myself, I came to a bunch of these events. What happens is you sometimes meet people you know, friends, colleagues, former servicemembers, and it helps to network,” Amoros said. “What you’re trying to do and what I’m trying to do might be a little different, but if we talk to each other we can share tips and best practices. I find that’s a great part to these events.”

While noting that many other posts in his area also host job fairs, Amoros encouraged other posts nationwide to sync up with job fair organizations to host events.

“It’s an easy way to help veterans out,” he said.