Local veterans looking for jobs

By Kelsey Gibbs | kgibbs@wcia.com

Published 07/11 2014 05:42PM

Updated 07/14 2014 11:04AM

SPRINGFIELD -- For many veterans, the real battle is not active duty, but rather coming home unemployed. WCIA-3's Kelsey Gibbs introduces us to one man who's basic training is now searching for a job.

"I've been finding opportunities. I mean, they are there, you just have to look for them."

Michael Gordon has spent the last eight years serving in the United States Air Force. But a honorable discharge left Gordon a civilian and unemployed.

"Actually, I am very grateful for opportunities like this."

It's a special job fair; an opportunity for veterans to find jobs.

"We have over 50 employers that truly have jobs looking for veterans and their family members, so we're excited."

The unemployment rate for veterans who served since September 2001 has fallen to 9 percent. That's according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Out of the 722,000 unemployed veterans in 2013, 60 percent were age 45 and over. Gordon hopes his knowledge in logistics can help him land back on his feet.

"With logistics, people will always need supplies so I'm that go-to guy. I know I can order anything from pencils to planes."

Marty Conatser says this annual weekend event put on by the Illinois American Legion is a service these veterans deserve.

"The veterans helping the veterans is the issue here. It really makes a good difference where they are more comfortable reaching out, knowing the person that they're reaching out to is also a veteran."

Gordon remains optimistic that he will soon find a job.

"I'll probably will find work maybe two to four weeks, so I just have to connect. Have to connect."

Last fall, the President signed into law the Hire Heroes Act. It not only helps veterans find jobs, but helps retrain them.

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