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Job Fairs Help Wounded Veterans Find Work

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Job Fairs Help Wounded Veterans Find Work

Job Fairs Help Wounded Veterans Find Work

Job Fairs Help Wounded Veterans Find Work

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It's hard to find work in a down economy, but imagine being more than 30 percent disabled from an injury suffered in Iraq or Afghanistan. The Defense Department is trying to help. It's calling on federal employers and those in the private sector to find jobs for the veterans who have been wounded during military service. Terry Gildea reports for Texas Public Radio.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, host:

In this country, jobs are disappearing at a rapid pace. And finding work can be tougher, still, for ex-soldiers who suffered serious injuries in America's wars abroad. Texas Public Radio's Terry Gildea takes us to a military job fair in San Antonio.

TERRY GILDEA: Hundreds of employers and recovering soldiers packed inside the Hiring Heroes Career Fair at Fort Sam Houston. It's close to Brooke Army Medical Center, where many injured servicemembers recover. Most of the employers are federal institutions or defense contractors. Karen O'Terrill(ph) helped organize the event. She gives advice to wounded warriors on how to market their skills.

Ms. KAREN O'TERRILL (Hiring Heroes Career Fair Organizer): And we try to transition those skills into a good resume that's going to transition them to a civilian career.

GILDEA: Sergeant Aaron Davis and Sergeant First Class Joseph James are just beginning to look for work.

Sergeant AARON DAVIS: For me I'm kind of on the fence on whether I want to get out or if I want stay in. If I do get out I want to have a plan, so that's why I'm here today.

Sergeant First Class JOSEPH JAMES: 2008 in April, I got hit by a roadside bomb, basically it took both my legs. I have an above-knee amputation and below-knee amputation.

GILDEA: James is finishing up his army medical discharge process and hopes to find a job in federal law enforcement.

Sfc. JAMES: So that's perfect time to be looking for jobs. So I have something lined up when I take the one step from going from Sergeant First Class James, I can go to, you know, Mr. James or Agent James, who knows, right?

GILDEA: The Defense Department has held these career fairs for several years, but in an economy where jobs are few, the events are a lifeline for recovering vets looking for work.

For NPR News, I'm Terry Gildea in San Antonio.

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