S.F. career fair helps vets find jobs as civilians

Imagine the transition between patrolling the streets of Kandahar, Afghanistan, to strolling the streets of Sebastopol, as 23-year-old Chad Matherly experienced.

Or that of the Moreno brothers, ages 21 and 23 from Daly City, who just completed years in the military — one in administration at Camp Pendleton and the other as a crane operator on Fort Eustice in Virginia. Finding nonmilitary employment for these soldiers can be daunting tasks.

According to 2005 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate of male veterans was 3.7 percent as compared with 4.4 percent for nonveterans. Among men 18- to 24-years-old, however, 17.2 percent of veterans did not have jobs, while 10.4 percent of nonveterans were unemployed. The unemployment rate for female veterans was 5.9 percent, while for nonveterans it was 5 percent.

Veterans sometimes struggle to comprehend how their skills transition into the professional workplace, said Robert Walker, the director of career fairs for RecruitMilitary, which hosted a military job fair at AT&T Park on Thursday.

“Basically it’s not knowing how to transition their skills from what they’ve done in the military over to the regular world,” Walker said.

Hundreds of veterans and service members attended the career fair specifically in search of a little job help.

The fair was one of 45 different events this year by RecruitMilitary, a private company started by a Marine Corps captain to help veterans secure jobs after leaving the military.

Matherly came with his wife and baby boy Landon, who started crawling recently. From 2004 to 2005, Matherly was in field artillery, patrolling streets and neighborhoods mostly in Kandahar, but his experience took him all over Afghanistan.

Raised in a military family in Iowa, Matherly said he has been working for a moving company but finding steady work has proven difficult.

“It’s hard because all I have is the military,” Matherly said.

Twenty-three-year-old T.J. and 21-year-old A.J. Moreno, said the event helped them feel more at home because people were looking out for them after their service in the U.S. Marine Corps and the Army.

“It’s a good feeling, especially here in San Francisco, because The City can be against the military,” said T.J., who worked at Camp Pendleton while in the Marines.

dsmith@examiner.com


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