Bay Area Vets Get Ahead At IAVA's First Smart Job Fair
Posted by Michael Preston on October 19
On Thursday, October 6 over 155 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans showed up for IAVA’s First Annual Fleet Week Smart Job Fair. Co-hosted with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Smart Job Fair offered a comprehensive solution to that problem by directly connecting qualified veterans with companies committed to hiring them, and providing veterans with the tools, resources and support they need to help them in their job search. Click here to download more information on IAVA's Smart Job Fairs and how you can get involved.
Smart Job Fair: San Francisco
As the Blue Angels buzzed over San Francisco to kick off the Fleet Week festivities, 155 IAVA Member Veterans arrived at the historic Green Room of San Francisco’s War Memorial. There they got the opportunity to sit down and talk with some of the hottest local employers in the area. Companies like engineering firm Bechtel, electric car-maker Tesla Motors and international carrier Southwest Airlines interacted with vets alongside regional non-profits like Swords to Plowshares, Goodwill, Salvation Army and the Farmer-Veteran Coalition.
All of these companies are committed to hiring veterans, and their participation was a critical first step in assessing the jobs landscape for local veterans in the Bay Area. IAVA surveyed attendees before the fair began about their level of education, military job experiences, and other data points that employers value.
The exit data collected at the job fair shows a solid impact. More than 75 percent of attendees feel more confident about their ability to get a job after having attended the Smart Job Fair. They attended resume workshops (receiving an average or better ranking from everyone who attended one of the two sessions), exchanged contact information with employers (86 percent) and 46 percent of all attendees reported that they had secured a follow-up meeting, conversation or interview as a result of coming to the job fair.
Data from this and other job fairs held by IAVA will help get vets employed by indicating which strategies are most successful. IAVA will continue to conduct interviews with attendees and employers to gauge who landed jobs and how to best facilitate that process.
Resume and G.I. Bill Workshops
Besides having direct access to veteran-friendly companies, veterans were also given access to an array of services to improve their employment prospects. With the help of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, IAVA provided a professional resume coach who ran a workshop geared towards helping veterans translate their military skills and optimize their resumes. The Veterans Resource Center on site provided invaluable resources to the attending veterans, and will be an ongoing tool for local vets to use as they continue their job shearch.
IAVA staff conducted rolling “Mission Briefings” as veterans arrived to prepare participants for the day, and provide guidance for both the Smart Job Fair and beyond. IAVA also offered a G.I. Bill station where vets could learn about to claim and use their benefits. Over the course of the day, the station was bustling as members stopped by with questions about their educational opportunities. There were also IAVA staff members on hand to talk about Community of Veterans and mental health resources.
San Francisco was the first step. The first IAVA Smart Job fair was well attended and got great coverage, including media appearances on Bloomberg TV and CBS radio. You can read more about what happened here. IAVA will be hosting four more of these events in the next year in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and New York and will continue to fight to lower the veteran unemployment rate and find real jobs for members of this New Greatest Generation.
- Are you a veteran looking for an edge in the job search? Do you need help to take that first step in networking with local companies? Click here to submit your resume and sign up for one of our future job fairs. IAVA is holding job fairs in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and New York in the next year.
- Are you a civilian that wants to help vets? Hire a hero! IAVA is looking to create real, lasting relationships with corporate contacts that are as dedicated as we are to getting jobs for the New Greatest Generation. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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