MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Hundreds of area veterans put on a different type of uniform Wednesday: that of potential employee.
The 70th annual AMVETS National Convention is at the Cook Convention Center this week, and for the first time, they hosted a job fair.
Hundreds of veterans from across the country were there – some young, some old, some with short stays in the military, some seasoned combat soldiers.
They all took an oath to this county, but are now hoping to hear just two words: “You’re hired.”
Terrence Holt is an Air Force veteran and was one of the first to respond when out nation came under attack by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001.
“I was in Afghanistan,” Holt said. “I’ve done a lot of things, and we put our lives on the line.”
Now that he is out of the service, he’s one of hundreds hoping to find a new start at the AMVETS National Convention career fair.
“I was a firefighter in the Air Force,” he said. “I did other things as far as management positions. So, I’m looking around, browsing to see what they have to offer here.”
There were a total of 41 vendors at the career fair with opportunities for everything from part time positions to full time careers.
It’s a good opportunity for the employers as well, because they say many of the qualities people learn in the military make them great employees.
Laquinda Shotwell with Advanced Services said, “We need people that are going to be dedicated, there every day and people who are looking for a career, not just a job where they work a couple hours.”
Holt added, “Our core value was service before self. So, in a job, Air Force personnel…We put ourselves second and the job first.”
Holt said he and other vets aren’t looking for handouts, just opportunities.
“I feel like we should be treated properly, and we should be treated with respect once we’re back,” he said.
The AMVETS Career Center also offers free online coursework to veterans and even interview clothes, donated by Men’s Warehouse.