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Minnesota National Guard
Vet Career Fair big part of Daytons Hire A Veteran month

Minnesota veterans were able to meet with employers, explore new careers and learn about educational opportunities at the 6th Annual Minnesota Veterans Career Fair The fair, which coincides with Gov Mark Dayton proclaiming July to be "Hire a Veteran" month, was held at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center Minn on July 11, 2012

The free event, which drew in approximately 1,300 veterans, is organized by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) in partnership with Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, the Minnesota Department of Labor, and the Minnesota National Guard With more than 140 companies and on-the-spot interviews and job offers, it is the largest veteran career fair in Minnesota and one of the largest in the nation

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Prior to the start of the fair, there was a workshop to teach job-seekers how to start a conversation with employers and how to get the most out of the fair

"Attending a job fair is more than just going and standing in front of a table," said Jim Finley, DEED director of Veterans Employment Programs "You need to know how to make a value statement and how to network with employers, so we designed a workshop for that"

A resource room provided veterans with the opportunity to talk with hiring executives and managers from a variety of Minnesota companies that were available to help veterans understand how to write a resume, the interview process and what it takes to get that job they're seeking

New this year was a workshop for veterans interested in starting their own business that included bankers, attorneys, CPAs and other subject matter experts to help veterans understand the process

"The workshop is about how to start a business, how to buy an existing business or how to start a franchise and the resources that are available," said Mike Welch, president and owner of FranNet, a Minnesota franchise consulting firm

The employers also had the opportunity to attend a workshop with guest speaker Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General Richard Nash He spoke about the value of hiring veterans, along with the ethics, skills and training that that they can bring to the workforce

"In Minnesota, about 7% of the working population are veterans, which means that about 93% are not," said Finley "Although Minnesota is veteran-friendly, employers may not always understand the military culture and the skills that are inherent to veterans, including the soft skills like teamwork, leadership and the ability to work under pressure"

Although veterans bring a lot of skills to the table and there are many resources for veterans to help them find employment, the process can still be overwhelming

"There are about 1,500 websites out there for veterans that are looking for jobs," said Finley "A veteran will tell you that's like drinking water from a fire hose"

Luckily, an easy 3-step process has been developed for both Minnesota veterans and employers To learn more, please visit wwwPositivelyMinnesotacom/veterans

With the 3-step process and career fairs like this, Minnesota is making it easier for veterans to secure employment

"The employer support exhibited was humbling with so many employers and education providers present," said Capt Ron Jarvi, Deployment Cycle Support executive officer "Minnesota continues to prove they are standing behind their veterans"

July 11, 2012
Story by Staff Sgt Dajon Ferrell
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs

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