Job fair attracts lots of military vets

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Job seeker and U.S. Navy veteran John Place (right) fills out an information form at the Los Angeles County Fire Department booth during 'Honor a Hero, Hire a Vet' job fair on Nov. 10, 2010 near LAX.

Hundreds of military vets donned business suits and carried briefcases into a state-sponsored job fair near Los Angeles International Airport. About 100 employers were there to greet them.

Its organizers say the four-year-old “Honor a Hero, Hire a Vet” event is crucial to helping vets find jobs, especially those 18- to 24-years-old.

Labor statistics indicate that more than a quarter of them were jobless last year.

Veterans — young, old, black and white — flooded the Proud Bird Event Center near LAX looking for jobs, from retail, to finance, to security.

The opportunities didn’t stop here. Advocate Eddie Purtuas said unemployed veterans could get a first crack at potential work on the Cal-Jobs employment website.

“If you are registered as a veteran, the jobs that go in, you can see everything," said Purtuas. "If you’re not a veteran those jobs are held back. You don’t even see them because we put what’s called a 24-hour hold on them. So veterans get first choice at every job opening that goes into out database. They get to see it first.”

Organizations such as Bank of America, Goodwill, the Los Angeles Police and Fire Departments and Safeway recruited at the job fair.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger launched the event several years ago as part of an initiative to match employers with vets. He stopped by the job fair for a visit.

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