Make us your home page

Veterans job fair is Friday at Bay Pines complex

SEMINOLE — Scott Owens was a bank teller. Charles Welsh was a maintenance mechanic. Then they joined the military.

Now, years after leaving Iraq, these men are faced with an issue they never really experienced before: unemployment.

With wives and kids to support, they are eager for work. They hope to find that Friday at the Veterans Employment Outreach Job Fair at the Bay Pines veterans complex.

The job fair, sponsored by Abilities of Florida, WorkNet Pinellas and Bay Pines VA Healthcare System, is exclusively for veterans. About 15 employers will be present, including Home Depot, Bright House and Goodwill. About 200 veterans are expected to attend.

"None are us are looking for a handout. We just want to go back to work," said Welsh, 45.

In the time Owens and Welsh have been unemployed, they have found that it's difficult for a veteran to get back to work.

They say that because many veterans are in the Reserves, employers are reluctant to hire them because they can be called to duty at any time. They also say employers are concerned about post-traumatic stress disorder or other disabilities veterans may have.

But they also say that hiring a veteran can bring a lot of good to the workplace.

"We're disciplined, we have good experience, we're reliable and we're taught integrity and honesty," said Owens, 32, who was in the Army's 101st Airborne.

But unemployment among veterans has become so widespread that even the educated are jobless.

James Haydon, 55, has a bachelor's degree in computer information systems. He is now homeless.

He stays at the shelter run by Everybody's Tabernacle in Clearwater. He is provided with the essentials, but what he really needs he is left without — a job.

"There's two things against me" when it comes to getting hired: "I haven't worked in 2 1/2 years, and I'm older than the rest of the workforce," he said.

Some veterans are taking this personally.

"We're disgusted. This is what we've done (for our country), and this is what we're getting," Welsh said.

Veterans are using the job fair as a chance to show employers who they truly are.

"Back in the day, you went to sell yourself," Welsh said. "But now, (the application process) is all over the Internet. It's very impersonal."

Friday, Owens hopes to find a job where he can use his computer skills. Welsh hopes to get back into mechanics.

"We can't forget what these people have done for us," said Muriel Boysen, veterans placement specialist for Abilities of Florida. "We have to realize these men and women need to get back to work because they're the ones that made us free."

Sabrina Rocco can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8862.

.Fast facts

Veterans job fair

When: Noon to 4 p.m. Friday

Where: Bay Pines VA, 10000 Bay Pines Blvd., Seminole

For information: Contact Muriel Boysen at (727) 538-7370, ext. 336, or visit

Veterans job fair is Friday at Bay Pines complex 02/19/11 [Last modified: Saturday, February 19, 2011 3:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Carrollwood fitness center employs scientific protocol to help clients


    In 2005, Al Roach and Virginia Phillips, husband and wife, opened 20 Minutes to Fitness in Lakewood Ranch, and last month they opened the doors to their new location in Carrollwood.

    Preston Fisher, a personal fitness coach at 20 Minutes To Fitness, stands with an iPad while general manager/owner Angela Begin conducts an equipment demonstration. The iPad is used to track each client's information and progress. I also included one shot of just the equipment. The center recently opened in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  2. Olive Tree branches out to Wesley Chapel


    WESLEY CHAPEL — When it came time to open a second location of The Olive Tree, owners John and Donna Woelfel, decided that Wesley Chapel was the perfect place.

    The Olive Tree expands its offerings of "ultra premium?€ extra virgin olive oils (EVOO) to a second location in Wesley Chapel. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  3. Massachusetts firm buys Tampa's Element apartment tower

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Downtown Tampa's Element apartment tower sold this week to a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company that plans to upgrade the skyscraper's amenities and operate it long-term as a rental community.

    The Element apartment high-rise at 808 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa has been sold to a Northland Investment Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company. JIM DAMASKE  |  Times
  4. New York town approves Legoland proposal


    GOSHEN, N.Y. — New York is one step closer to a Lego dreamland. Goshen, a small town about fifty miles northwest of the Big Apple, has approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park.

    A small New York town, Goshen approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park. Legoland Florida is in Winter Haven. [Times file  photo]
  5. Jordan Park to get $20 million makeover and new senior housing

    Real Estate


    Times Staff Writer

    ST. PETERSBURG —The St. Petersburg Housing Authority, which bought back the troubled Jordan Park public housing complex this year, plans to spend about $20 million to improve the 237-unit property and construct a new three-story building for …

    Jordan Park, the historic public housing complex, is back in the hands of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority. The agency is working to improve the 237-unit complex. But the latest plan to build a new three-story building for seniors will mean 31 families have to find new homes. [LARA CERRI   |   Tampa Bay Times]