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Department of the Navy plans Raleigh Hiring Conference for Veterans, Families

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The Department of the Navy is giving veterans and their spouses the opportunity to be considered for jobs suited to their skill sets.

The department will host its fourth annual Wounded Warrior Hiring and Support Conference on May 28-29 at the Hilton North Raleigh/Midtown.

Despite the name, the conference is open to any veteran or military spouse seeking employment.

The conference is special in that job seekers can submit their resumes and skills online in advance, giving them an opportunity to be matched with prospective employers based on their needs.

Jennifer Raymaker with the N.C. Military Foundation has been helping to promote the event.

“There’s an online portal where veterans and their spouses can put up the resumes and list their skill set,” Raymaker said. “And employers can do the same thing. Then, an independent company called takes the information from both parties and does resume translation services.”

That service can qualify job seekers for interviews, and possible hirings, before the conference even begins.

The conference was originally scheduled to be held in October, but the government shutdown resulted in its postponement.

However, the pre-conference interviews went on and resulted in 24 hirings out of 43 interviews — a placement rate of 56 percent.

“They’re hoping to see that same level of success for placement for this conference,” Raymaker said.

This is the first time the conference, which changes locations each year, will be held in North Carolina. In previous years, it has been held in Virginia and California, near large naval bases.

“The reason the conference planners chose North Carolina is because of the huge veteran population we have in the state and because of the programs we have geared toward veterans,” Raymaker said.

The first day of the conference is designed to give employers an overview of why and how to hire military veterans, particularly wounded warriors.

Raymaker said a recent state Commerce Department report projected some 20,000 veterans entering the civilian workforce over the next several years.

“These people are highly trained with great skill sets,” Raymaker said. “We have to figure out how to incorporate them into the workforce and what programs are best for them.”

That means educating companies on how to hire veterans.

“How can you train your human resources managers to identify certain skills and how it can be applied to job openings,” Raymaker said. “For instance, you might have someone who was a rifleman in Afghanistan, and HR managers might not know what skills that involves. This conference does a lot to try to fix that issue.”

The second day is the actual hiring fair, with hundreds of job seekers meeting with employers with positions to fill.

Veterans also can participate in two workshops on the second day. The first is on career assessment and goal-setting. The second gives information about military credentialing and licensing as well veteran and military spouse employment initiatives.

Booth space for the conference is full, with more than 70 prospective employers registered for the event, including organizations within the Department of Defense and other federal agencies, as well as companies in the private sector.

Job seekers can still register to be considered for pre-conference interviews and for the conference itself through www.navsea.navy.mil/WWemployment/default.aspx.

Staff writer Jaclyn Shambaugh can be reached at shambaughj@fayobserver.com or 609-0651. ___

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