Fall Hybrid Hiring Fair offers employment opportunities

By Angie ThorneSeptember 28, 2023

Fall Hybrid Hiring Fair offers employment opportunities
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Soldiers, Family members, veterans and retirees attended the packed in-person portion of the hiring fair. The virtual portion takes place online through Oct. 21. (Photo Credit: Angie Thorne) VIEW ORIGINAL
Fall Hybrid Hiring Fair offers employment opportunities
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The in-person portion of the Transition Assistance Program Hybrid Hiring Fair took place Sept. 21 at Fort Johnson’s Education Center. (Photo Credit: Angie Thorne) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT JOHNSON, La. — The Fall Hybrid Hiring Fair and Education Event took place Sept. 21 at the Fort Johnson Education Center. The event was hosted by the Transition Assistance Program whose enhanced hiring events are designed to provide transitioning service members the opportunity to connect with employment and education opportunities. The event was a hybrid in-person and virtual hiring opportunity. Vets4Life hosts the virtual portion of the event through Oct. 21.

Janice Breeland, Fort Johnson TAP director, kicked off the month-long hybrid hiring event with a pep talk to vendors. She encouraged the 30 employers, 10 colleges and seven service providers to help the Soldiers, Family members, veterans and retirees attending the event in any way they could.

Breeland called the hiring fair a connect event.

“We are constantly trying to connect transitioning Soldiers with employers, colleges and service providers. What’s great about this being a hybrid event is that the connection possibilities can continue for the next 30 days through the virtual portion of the event,” Breeland said. “That’s critically important to those who couldn’t make it to the in-person event today.”

Giving Soldiers the opportunity to use both the in-person and virtual aspects of the hiring event enhances the chances for them to be successful in their job-hunting efforts.

“Some Soldiers prefer talking to employers face to face. Others, who are more technologically savvy, prefer the virtual hiring fair,” Breeland said. “The important thing is that we offer them both.”

Stevi Reed, a military spouse, just moved to Fort Johnson and attended the hiring fair to get a better idea of what kind of jobs were available in the area. She is in the process of getting her medical assistant certification.

“This is a great event. It gives me a chance to see what kinds of opportunities are available in my career field,” Reed said.

One of the employers at the fair Reed would probably have wanted to talk to is the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Hale Richerson, human resources specialist with the Alexandria Veterans Administration Health Care System, was part of the team that made the trip to Fort Johnson to not only seek out potential employees, but also get the word out about what the VA has to offer.

“Our purpose is to take care of veterans and their Families,” Richerson said. “As an employer our goal is to hire the best of the best, which is why we are here. Who better to know and help veterans than the Soldiers that have walked in their boots?”

Richerson was impressed with the turn out for the hiring fair as well as the number of vendors participating.

“This kind of turn out shows me that businesses and organizations truly care about Soldiers, their Families and the quality of life they lead now and into the future,” Richerson said.

For Soldiers and Family members looking to increase their knowledge before dipping their toe in the job market, colleges were set up among the employers.

Ashley Prejean, Fort Johnson site director for Central Texas College, had a table filled with information to aid those in attendance with questions about furthering their education.

“We are preparing Soldiers in our community to be better educated and qualified for employment as they transition out of the military and beyond,” Prejean said.

Also participating in the fair were vendors like Military One Source. According to its website, militaryonesource.mil, the organization’s purpose is to provide Soldiers and Families with a wealth of tools, information and resources to support them.

“The best thing we offer is support when they need it,” said Derrick Ursin, Military One Source Louisiana consultant. “

Military One Source offers everything from counseling and relationship support to parenting resources and more.

“We want to help increase Soldiers and Family members overall quality of life,” he said.

Ursin understood the importance of the hiring fair to the Fort Johnson community.

“It puts employers and support organizations in a centralized location. That takes the tediousness and stress out of looking for jobs and information,” Ursin said. “Bringing everyone together like this benefits Soldiers and Families in so many ways.”

Spc. Luis Duran, 3rd Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, will be transitioning out of the military in a few months. He attended the fair to find out what kind of job opportunities he can expect to find when he gets out.

“There are a lot of employers here. It’s good to network now and talking to people in person is helpful,” Duran said.

However, Duran didn’t pin all his hopes on the in-person hiring event. He also plans to participate in the virtual hiring event that continues through Oct. 21.

“It’s great that the job fair will continue virtually. That gives me the opportunity to take my time and reach out to employers I’m interested in,” Duran said.

Col. CJ Lopez, Fort Johnson garrison commander, attended the hiring fair to thank employers participating in the event and talk to transitioning Soldiers and Family members looking for job opportunities.

“Our transitioning service members made tremendous sacrifices in protecting our way of life and the freedoms we enjoy. Your (employers) efforts today help us reduce the challenges these transitioning service members and their spouses face in obtaining employment,” Lopez said. “Your participation in and support of this event speaks volumes about your commitment to our transitioning service members and their spouses. I commend and salute you for considering their unlimited potential brings to the workplace.”

Lopez also thanked transitioning service members and spouses for their selfless service, continuous sacrifice and dedication.

“We wish you continued success in your future endeavors,” Lopez said.

For more information about the continuing virtual hiring fair call 337-531-1591.