Employers Scout Fort Campbell Soldiers At Job Fair

Mar 21, 2012

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky.   More than 100 national and local employers will be at Fort Campbell, Ky., seeking potential recruits among the Army soldiers who will soon be leaving military service.

The two-day job fair at Cole Park Commons will host national and international employers Wednesday and local employers Thursday. Among the employers attending are Boeing, CSX Railroad, Macy's, Hemlock, Tennessee Department of Corrections and HCA.

With planned military budget cuts looming, the Army plans to reduce its total size by 80,000 soldiers over the next five years and civilian federal employees and contractors will also be facing job losses.

Harold Riggins, director of Fort Campbell's Army Career and Alumni Program, said they are expecting 120 employers to be at Fort Campbell over the next two days in a wide range of careers. Some employers, like CSX Railroad and BNSF Railway, have made a commitment to hire veterans and others are looking for dependable leaders like those coming out of the military.

"Our service members have intangible skills like leadership, teamwork, integrity and ingenuity," he said. "They are diverse, loyal, dependable and adaptable."

Riggins said about 300 to 500 troops from Fort Campbell leave active duty service each month and they are looking for jobs both locally in Tennessee and Kentucky, but also jobs that will take them closer to their hometowns.

Unemployment for recently returned veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan remains higher than the national unemployment rate. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said in a report issued Tuesday that the unemployment rate for veterans who served after September 2001 was 12.1 percent in 2011.

Riggins said Fort Campbell soldiers leaving the service are required to attend transitional training, which helps prepare them for the civilian job market.

"We are teaching them how to network, how to write a resume, how to interview and how to negotiate a salary," he said.

They are also helping soldiers translate their military skills and experiences into attributes that non-military employers can understand.

"You were an infantryman, but now you are telling an employer that you were responsible for a security detail and in charge of nine soldiers," he explained.

The job fair will be open to the public, including military spouses and retirees, and visitors who want to attend need to get a pass from Gate 4.