EL PASO, Texas - Employing veterans is one of Gov. Rick Perry's top initiatives, and the reason for Thursday's statewide veterans job fair.
"Red, White and You" took place in 28 cities, and nearly 1,200 El Paso veterans interviewed with local employers.
USA Today reports other states are following Texas's model of keeping tabs on veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and putting them in touch with employers who could use their specific skills. "Red, White and You"job fair was part of that effort.
First Sgt.Trevor Adams has been in the U. S. Army for 27 years
"I'm from the U.S. Virgin Islands," Adams said. "I joined the Army a very long time ago. And I'm about to retire in a year, so I came down to the job fair today to see what's available. My background is operations."
With a strong skill set he said he feels confident one of the 80 employers at the Workforce Solutions job fair will find him qualified. There's only one problem.
"All I know is my military experience," Adams said.
Military men and women have the skills for many top jobs, but don't always know it because they haven't explored the civilian job market. That's where the Texas Workforce Commission comes in.
"One of the things we do is we look at our database and the skills they have, look at the jobs we were looking for and then we match it with employers in the community that were hiring or are hiring for positions that meet the skills of the job seekers, especially veterans," Workforce Solutions CEO Lorenzo Reyes said.
The overall unemployment rate for Texas veterans is below the national average at 7.5%. About 180,000 Texas vets are still unemployed, but with job fairs in 28 locations, that number should drop.
"I have already scheduled five interviews for Monday to do a second interview and of those I can almost guarantee that four of them will get hired, said Hospital Housekeeping Systems Owner Alex Precio.
In El Paso, organizers expect 200 or more veterans to be hired because of this one fair. Although Adams has a year to go he counting on the military to civilian transition to be smooth.
"I might be unique because I'm not worried about it," Adams said.
Perry initially introduced these statewide fairs in October. They expect to hold another in February.