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Hundreds of veterans attend ‘Hiring our Heroes’ job fair

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 27, 2015) - Hundreds of veterans attended a job fair Friday for veterans and their spouses, hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

They’re working with the University of Phoenix to connect veterans with more than 60 local businesses ready to hire.

The event, Hiring Our Heroes, has been going on nationwide since 2012, but this is its first year in Indianapolis.

Local employers have jobs ready for veterans and military spouses of all ranks and levels of experience.

Companies ranged from big employers to dozens of small local businesses.

Ahead of the job fair, organizers are offering workshops to help attendees with resumes and interview skills.

They say, after a deployment or a move for the military, it’s often hard for veterans to have a network to find a job, and this event provides that locally.

"If we want folks, young men and women, to continue to raise their hand to serve our country, we need to make sure when they come back into civilian life that they have those opportunities to achieve their professional goals," said Briana Houlihan with the University of Phoenix.

Veteran Robert Brooks attended today’s job fair. He just lost his job – now finding one is his latest mission.

“It’s a full time job,” said Brooks. “You’re constantly on the computer, searching the net, filling out applications, sending resumes and you’ve still got to be out here doing this, networking and meeting people.”

“I agree, I think it is a challenge for some vets,” said veteran Tiffany Perry. “I served 14 years in the Army and when I got out it was a challenge to look for work.”

But it's actually not quite as tough as it used to be, at least according to new statistics from the U.S. Labor Department.

The unemployment rate for veterans is down from 6.6 percent more than a year ago to 5.3 percent at the end of 2014.

“(That’s) fantastic, we want to see that,” said Cara Lustig with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “We want to see unemployment numbers lower. I think the reason is awareness, I think companies want to hire veterans because their skill set is so strong.”

"I definitely have seen an upward trend of course," said veteran Joshua York. "I’ve only been out of the Marine corps for a little over a month, but in that short time, I’ve gotten a lot of calls."

To date, nationally, more than 1,700 businesses have pledged their help and 369,000 hires have been made.