By Calun Reece, Fort Riley Public AffairsApril 26, 2013
FORT RILEY, Kan. -- The room seemed to buzz with the steady interaction of employers and job seekers during the Hiring Heroes Career Fair April 16 at Riley's Conference Center.
The fair was open to all military members and their Families, with emphasis on wounded warriors, their spouses and primary caregivers.
This year, about 70 businesses participated in the event, with about 112 interviews conducted and eight job offers made at the fair. More than 570 people attended the event this year.
"I've got a really great feeling about the number of hires we're going to get out of this event," said Sylvia Parker, human resources specialist, recruitment, Defense Civilian Personnel Advisory Service, Department of Defense. "I think the employers today are really motivated to hire people."
The militarywide program has been in existence since 2005 and focuses on installations with the largest number of wounded, ill and injured service members.
Potential employers included the Department of Defense, federal agencies and private sector firms.
Some of the potential employers included the Department of Veterans Affairs; Social Security Administration; Central Intelligence Agency; Irwin Army Community Hospital; and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
"We're just very happy to be here -- to be able to participate in this event," said Meleana Heffner, staffing administrator, Russell Stover Candies. "(We are) here to support our Soldiers, and, hopefully, we're able to get some of these folks great positions."
Attendees also seemed impressed with the venue.
"I think it's an awesome thing that we have these opportunities, especially for the Soldiers getting out now," said Sgt. Ephraim Torres, 299th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Armored Combat Brigade Team, 1st Infantry Division. "I'm pretty grateful for it. We get the opportunity to get out in the world and be a more productive individual."
About nine potential employers conducted on-the-spot interviews throughout the conference center.
The Kansas Works mobile unit also was available to provide assistance for completing job applications online and critiquing resumes.
The career fair seemed to be the answer to a prayer for one job seeker.
"I got an interview for tomorrow already, and I put my application in and everything," said Robert Hanks, jail chaplain, Westmoreland, Kan.
Hanks volunteers as a chaplain for the Pottawatomie County Jail.
"I'm trying to get a job so I can get my wife back on insurance because she's going in for surgery, and we don't have (any) insurance now," Hanks said. "This has been one of the better job fairs yet."