Veterans Job and Resource Fair helps vets navigate civilian world

May 7, 2024 | Featured, Business | 0 comments

OhioMeansJobs Sandusky County and the Toledo Vet Center collaborated to host a Veterans Job and Resource Fair on April 29. Shown here are OMJ Veteran Rep Mason Sieger, OMJ Business Services Consultant Matt Kreilick, OMJ Business Services Consultant Arcadia Thurn and Vet Center Veterans Outreach Program Specialist Jack Healy. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

BY SHERI TRUSTY

Transitioning from the military to veteran life creates unique challenges that can become obstacles to employment. On April 29, OhioMeansJobs Sandusky County (OMJ) hosted a Veteran Job and Resource Fair in partnership with the Toledo Vet Center. The event featured veteran resources and connections with employers who openly welcome veterans to their companies.

“We just wanted to inform veterans about all these resources and vet-friendly employers,” said OMJ Business Services Consultant Arcadia Thurn. “This is the first time we’ve done something like this.”

The Vet Center’s mission is to assist veterans and their families as they transition to civilian life through readjustment counseling services.

“The Vet Center offers community-based mental health counseling for veterans, their families and anyone currently serving in the military,” said Vet Center Veterans Outreach Program Specialist Jack Healy. “Our services are always free.”

Kuns Northcoast Security Center Director of Operations, Gary Epley, left, and Kuns Finance Director Megan Kraun, attended the event to promote employment opportunities at the veteran-friendly business. (Photo by Sheri Trusty)

The collaboration between OMJ and the Vet Center created an umbrella approach to the resource fair.

“This is why it was important to partner with Jack. He had all these veteran resources, and I had all these employers,” Thurn said.

Among the organizations promoting resources for veterans was Great Lakes Community Action Partnership (GLCAP). GLCAP employees were at the event to share information on the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program which provides housing assistance and addresses other practical needs.

The program offers rental, utility and food assistance and helps meet other practical needs. SSVF serves veterans in Ottawa, Sandusky, Seneca, Erie, Hancock, Huron, Lorain, Lucas, Wood and Wyandot counties.

The Veteran Job and Resource Fair featured veteran resources and vet-friendly employers. (Photoy by Sheri Trusty)

“We will pick you up, love you and support you until you are completely self-sustainable,” said SSVF Family Advocate Katrina Ross.

Among the veteran-friendly employers at the resource fair was Kuns Northcoast Security Center. Gary Epley, the business’ director of operations, is a 21-year Army veteran. He understands the challenges of transitioning from the military to a civilian job.

“It’s a whole new world out here,” Epley said. “In the military, you stand in line and get filtered through a system.”

In the civilian world, military personnel are on their own. Regardless of the challenges, veterans also bring unique strengths to their jobs.

“They come with a proven work ethic,” Epley said. “They’re dependable and trustworthy. They’re just a special breed.”

For more information on veterans’ assistance, visit www.ohiomeansjobs.ohio.gov, www.vetcenter.va.gov, or www.glcap.org.

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