Vet-Fest workshop and job fair aims to help veterans with job search

Published 8:50 am Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Veterans from the United States military face many challenges on the battlefield, but when many return home and leave their branch of service, they face a battle to enter the civilian workforce.

The Vet-Fest Workshop and Job Fair that is being held from Monday through April 10 at the Armed Forces Reserve Center at 253 Don May Road in Johnson City is designed to help veterans become more competitive in job searches and show their skills and military experience into the civilian world.

“For some reason, unemployment among veterans is not coming down as the general population,” Cindy Humphrey, employment specialists with the National Guard Employment Enhancement Program. “The biggest hurdle for them is they don’t know how to translate their military skills to civilian jobs. They have the leadership capabilities and the skills to do the job, but it is not getting across to the hiring individual. They are missing opportunities.”

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After reviewing several resumes from veterans for jobs, Humphrey found they described themselves and their skills with military jargon, which would be very unfamiliar to a civilian human resources employee. In other cases, the veteran is not including skills they have because they do not believe they are relevant for the job they are searching for.

“They are shortsighting themselves because they don’t know or don’t recognize that they have these skills,” Humphrey said.

The goal of Vet-Fest is to better prepare these veterans for their job search. Vet-Fest includes a week-long workshop from April 6-9 that will conclude with a job fair on Friday, April 10.

The workshop teaches veterans financial management skills and helps individuals create an individualized financial plan. It also helps veterans create a resume or update an existing one, learn effective job search techniques, gain relevant interview skills, learn to convert military skill sets to civilian qualifications, network with veteran participants and meet with Department of Labor and career center representatives.

Training is being conducted by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Appalachian Community Federal Credit Union professionals. This event is open to all service members, family members and veterans in Claiborne, Grainger, Jefferson, Sevier, Hancock, Hawkins, Hamblen, Greene, Cocke, Sullivan, Washington, Unicoi, Carter and Johnson counties. The event is limited to 120 participants.

On Friday, April 10, a networking activity will be held from 8-11:30 a.m. and the job fair will be from noon to 5 p.m. Workshop participants can attend the job fair an hour earlier at 11 a.m. All participants who complete the week-long session will be given a $30 gift card.

Around 30 employers are expected to attend, including TVA Credit Union, Color Tech, Eastman, Elwood Staffing, the State of Tennessee, Spring, Regions Bank and the Veteran Administration, Humphrey said.

Interested participants must pre-register to attend. To register visit:

For more information, contact Humphrey at 467-2156.