Job fair tries to help outgoing servicemen find employment

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - By Danielle Thomas – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Some former servicemen say being able to mark "veteran" on an employment application isn't making their job search any easier in this slow economy. In honor of Veteran's Day, a recruitment company held a military job fair in Gulfport Wednesday.

Philip Prevatte is a military relations liaison for Lockheed Martin. He said the defense contractor likes to hire former servicemembers because of their reputation for integrity, leadership, and being highly skilled.

"They can adapt to situations, say, if the positions happen to be overseas," said Prevatte. "Right now, of course, in the hot spots many of them have already been there. They adapt really well."

Some former and soon-to-be former military members said they're having trouble finding civilian jobs. Even with their military experience, the slow economy means the jobs just aren't there.

Staff Sgt. Joseph Jones is a recruiter for the Army and Reserves.

"In the economy, a lot of the jobs have gotten to a point where they're hard for you to maintain. So what we're trying to offer a lot of people in the military as recruiters is to come in for those who are prior service to come back in and see if they could possibly still join."

With jobs so hard to come by these days, military recruiters say more people who've left the service are signing up for active duty or reserves, rather than face an uncertain economy.

"I would say because of security. Job security," said Staff Sgt. Jones. "What we offer in terms of our military service. We offer you full time paid benefits, money for education that you can look at in terms of steady employment because you definitely need steady employment these days."

The job fair was also open to people who have not served in the military. Organizers say they noticed an increase in entry level applicants.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.