Hiring Our Heroes job fair in Rochester - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Hiring Our Heroes job fair in Rochester

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Finding a job is a struggle many Americans face, but the unemployment rate for veterans is almost four percent higher than the general public.

More than five dozen employers were on hand at the Rochester International Event Center to offer job opportunities to our veterans. It's all part of a national effort called Hiring Our Heroes.

Samuel Ladu beamed his bright smile as he spoke with potential employers.

"I'm open to go and talk to anyone about the experience I had in Iraq. Go to schools, anything that they have, educate the children about the people of the Middle East as well as the African culture," Ladu said.

Ladu served three years in Iraq as a military linguist but after returning has had a hard time finding work. "It was very difficult. I have all the experiences; my last assignment in Iraq was assigning all the military linguists to the whole units all over Iraq, so when I come here it was hard to get into the position that I have to do," he said.

That was the common trend among those eagerly looking for work. Orlyn Chell was a military police man during Vietnam. After serving years in the Army, he eventually found work with the state prison system, but a knee surgery forced Orlyn to work part-time and he lost his job.

"I'm back in school now trying to find a job at a later stage in life for me. It's a little bit difficult because they say they don't discriminate against people that are older but still I find that they choose the younger worker over me," Chell said.

Chell is due to graduate in the Spring. "But if I could land a job now I'd leave school in a heartbeat because that's the goal you know," Chell said.

Like Chell, Ladu decided that getting a degree may increase his chance of finding employment. He's pursuing a law enforcement degree at RCTC. Ladu wants to tie his cultural experiences from the military to his future job.

"Law enforcement is just like another military," Ladu said. "They need to be educated to people of different cultures and be able to interact effectively with people."

For Chell and Samuel and many more with similar stories, Hiring Our Heroes was an opportunity to meet with employers face to face.

Hiring Our Heroes started last year and has had more than 300 job fairs nationwide. They've helped more than 10,400 veterans and military spouses find employment.

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