Job Fair Seeks to Help Returning Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans in Dire Need of Work


The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan seem to have dragged on forever, but a California job fair aimed at veterans of those and other conflicts is only in its fifth year. “Honor a Hero, Hire a Vet,” an initiative begun under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and continued by Gov. Jerry Brown, holds a free job fair from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. today at the Elks Lodge, 212 South Elk Lane, Santa Ana?
]

Why?

“[T] o provide a wide
range of job services in one spot for veterans, many of them recently
returned from Iraq and Afghanistan,” reads a release from the California Employment Development
Department (EDD).

Why else?
[
Because California is home to nearly 2 million veterans, the most in the
nation, and young
veterans are in particular need of assistance. The 2011 California
unemployment rate for veterans 20-24 years old was 37.1 percent, which
the EDD notes is more than double the17.6 percent rate of similarly aged non-veterans.

At the fair, which is open to all, participants will learn not about career opportunities, but education and training
options, apprenticeships and other services available in the public and private
sectors, according to the EDD, which is joined in sponsoring the event with the
Labor and Workforce Development Agency, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Industrial
Relations' Division of Apprenticeship Standards and state community colleges.

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Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.

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