June career and job fair has promising prospects for veterans, dependents - Camp Lejeune Globe: Carolina Living

June career and job fair has promising prospects for veterans, dependents

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 9:06 am

Gerardo “Gerry” Cruz knows a thing or two about working hard. After all, he’s a Mustang.

Cruz spent 20 years in the United States Navy. He enlisted in 1983 and worked as a Corpsman. He retired as a lieutenant, a Medical Service Corps officer to be more specific. Now, as a career advisor to veterans through the North Carolina Department of Commerce Division of Workforce Solutions, he’s helping veterans with similar work ethics follow fulfilling careers.

The Division of Workforce Solutions is holding a Job Fair and Career Expo at American Legion Post 265 in Jacksonville, N.C. June 4. The event is split into two categories – a 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. session open to active duty, veterans and dependents with a second slot from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. which is open to any and all members of the community seeking a job.

“Even though we call it a veteran’s job fair it’s open to the public,” Cruz said. “The first hour is for veterans and dependents but we are here for everyone. Employers and people looking for a job all benefit.”

The biannual event features job fairs in June and November. This year’s June edition will see 98 tables offering information on careers, resources or education. Six of the organizations are law enforcement groups from as far away as Greensboro or as local as Wilmington. Even N.C. State Highway Patrol will be in attendance. A number of law enforcement organizations offer apprenticeships. Similarly, trade schools like Airstreams Renewables Incorporated, which trains wind turbine and cellular tower technicians, will be in attendance for veterans or transitioning service members and others not looking for a traditional education.

“A lot of these guys, when they get out, they don’t want to spend four years sitting in a classroom,” Cruz said. “They want to get out, get their hands dirty and get to work.”

Airstreams Renewables will also be sponsoring lunch for the first 50 veterans to show up at the job fair and career expo.

A wide variety of companies offering jobs and careers will be in attendance as well. National organizations like FedEx Freight, General Electric, Smithfields Foods and Pike Electric will be in attendance. Additionally, newcomers to the Jacksonville area will be looking for employees to fill positions across the board. Publix Super Market, which is set to open a location in Jacksonville in September, will have a table to hire everyone from stockers and butchers to management.

Organizations focused on veterans will be in attendance as well. Helmets to Hardhats is a national, nonprofit program that connects National Guard, Reserve, retired and transitioning active-duty military service members with skilled training and quality career opportunities in the construction industry. The program is designed to help military service members successfully transition back into civilian life by offering them the means to secure a quality career in the construction industry. Veteran owned businesses like GeoStabilization International (GSI) will also be featured. GSI mitigates hazards associated with geological events like landslides or sinkholes.

“They pay well,” Cruz noted.

Additionally, some of the resources available can help veterans in need get back on their feet as they find work. NCServes operates across 22 counties and provides aid to those who need it most.

“They’re like the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society but for everybody,” Cruz explained.

Cruz sees the Onslow community, associated as strongly with the military as it is, as an ideal recruiting ground for any employer.

“Veterans are committed. They have character and work great in teams. They also have very good soft skills which employees always look for,” Cruz said.

Soft skills are things like work ethic, communication skills and punctuality.

Cruz made sure to express his gratitude for American Legion Post 265 and their continuing support for the event. The post has hosted every fair since the events began in 2007.

“We’d like to thank the post for always supporting us… They always find a way to make it happen,” Cruz said. He made special mention of American Legion Post 265 Commander Jerry Griffith.

That’s more important than ever for the Division of Workforce Solutions as their Jacksonville NCWorks Career Center continues to renovate from last year’s hurricanes.

“Even through we’re working offsite we’re still accomplishing our mission of serving veterans and dependents in the community,” Cruz said.

That temporary site now hosts Thursday morning facilitation workshops for those looking to prepare for events like the job fair. Classes start at 10 a.m. every Thursday.

The NCWorks Career Center is temporarily located at 535 Bell Fork Rd. in Jacksonville, N.C.

For more information on NCWorks visit ncworks.gov.

A full list of employers, educators and resources who will be in attendance can be found in the table provided.

Lifestyles Photo Blog

Chaplain's Corner