ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Nearly 250 job seekers attended the APG Veterans Job Fair and Expo at the APG North (Aberdeen) recreation center Aug. 22.

Hosted by the Army Community Service Employment Readiness Office and the Workforce Development and Adult Learning Division of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, the fair was organized in response to the growing number of unemployed veterans, according to organizers.

Janet Dettwiler, APG director of Human Resources, said organizers were pleased with the attendance numbers which included 45 local and national employers.

She noted that taking care of veterans is one of the core competencies of APG senior leader, Maj. Gen. Robert S. Ferrell.

"This was the result of a good deal of command and state-level involvement," Dettwiler said, adding that even a military fellow from Congressman Andy Harris' office was on hand.

"Due to the high number of veterans that reside in this area, leaders are taking a more vested interest to ensure veterans obtain worthwhile employment."

She added that Soldiers preparing to transition out of the service are getting in position to become more marketable and that new transition programs aid them by allowing them to earlier discover their weaknesses to help them channel thier efforts sooner.

"Then, once they leave the service they are better equipped," she said.

Separating Soldiers, whether retiring, ETSing or separating for other reasons, are required to transition through the Transition Center on the first floor of Bldg. 4305.

In addition, employment services are available through the Employment Readiness Program office at ACS Bldg. 2503, led by Marilyn Howard.

Dettwiler said initial feedback indicated that attendees were pleased with the fair.

"Many said they enjoyed having so many opportunities afforded to them without leaving the installation," she said. "They also thought it offered great networking opportunities with fellow job seekers. Some spouses were even able to inquire about spouse employment opportunities

"It's all about taking care of the total Army Family," she said.

Lane Williams, DLLR Veterans Program Manager, said the fair also was significant for employers due to the many veterans in the area looking to transition.

"We like coming to APG because everyone is so helpful, with programs that make a difference" he said. "We like the commander's interest. He knows he has a lot of veterans in this area and he wants to make sure there are lots of opportunities for them."

He commended Howard for "doing a wonderful job creating great community connections."

His advice for veteran job seekers, he said, is to remain proactive.

"Looking for a job is a full-time job. You've got to be eager, motivated and work at it every day."

Employer displays included a wide array of specialties.

Gloria Chasey, chief of Human Resources for I2WD (Intelligence & Information Warfare Directorate), a part of RDECOM's CERDEC said the organization was looking to fill engineering positions.

"Most who showed an interest today had IT backgrounds or other computer-based interests," she said.

At the Metro Transit Police display, transit officers from Washington, D.C., Sgt. Salicia Belton and officer Doniese Collins, along with human resources representative Chesda Jones, briefed visitors on the training and responsibilities of transit police officers. Jones said a lot of interest was shown, particularly by Soldiers.

"We signed up 15 applicants for our next test on Sept. 18," she said, adding that service members usually don't have trouble meeting the physical requirements.

For career information, visit the Metro Transit Police site at wmata.com/jobs.

Kiera Cheneray, a human resources officer with Veterans Solutions, Inc., a contracting company for government and industry, said the organization specializes in placing veterans in law enforcement and intelligence, financial, and general services positions.

"VSI also is committed to supporting Wounded Warriors and disabled veterans," she said.
For more information about the ACS Employment Readiness Program, contact Jack Charles at 410-306-2354 or 410-836-4635, or Marilyn Howard at 410-278-9669.