Florida Gulf Coast University is holding a job expo on Thursday in the hopes of connecting veterans who enlisted after 9/11 with the career opportunities, benefits and services they deserve.
Leaders with the expo say post-9/11 veterans typically feel like the forgotten ones because so many of the current veteran services were put into place for older veterans. Thursday’s job fair is targeted mainly at those younger veterans in Southwest Florida, to let them know about the resources and job opportunities available to them and to help them feel connected to other veterans in the area.
Leaders with CareerSource Southwest Florida, which is co-hosting the expo alongside FGCU, say there will be several employers and veteran services present to assist veterans in all aspects of their life.
“There will be over 20 employers present who work very closely with the veteran population and hiring veterans and are very proactive in playing that role,” said Amy Hanna-Eckenrode with CareerSource. “The congressman’s office, health care, various organizations that will be on hand to help our veterans with personal issues.”
The traits these young people learn in the military—being adaptable, being a leader, knowing how to be part of a team—can carry over fruitfully to many careers. Troy Bolivar, director of military and veterans success at FGCU, served in the U.S. Navy and knows what it’s like to go from working with a platoon of people who would die for him to living all alone.
That’s why Bolivar is a major advocate for veteran expos like the one happening on Thursday, something he says is crucial for this demographic.
“They don’t know how to translate the things that they did in the military… so, one of the big things we’re doing prior to this expo is we’re helping them tailor their resume for an actual civilian employment opportunity,” Bolivar said. “Getting rid of all the military jargon and just putting the things those actual employers are looking for, based on what they’ve done.”
The job fair will be held in the Cohen Student Union Ballroom at FGCU, located at 11090 FGCU Blvd. N., from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. It’s free, and all veterans are invited to attend. Visit the Eventbrite page to register and learn more.