Make us your home page
Instagram

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 srocco@sptimes.com 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 abilitiesfoundation.com.

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

Loading...
  1. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming

    Roads

    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  2. A sports rout on Wall Street

    Retail

    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.

  3. Grocery chain Aldi hosting hiring event in Brandon Aug. 24

    Retail

    BRANDON — German grocery chain Aldi is holding a hiring event for its Brandon store Aug. 24. It is looking to fill store associate, shift manager and manager trainee positions.

  4. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik backs film company pursuing global blockbusters

    Corporate

    TAMPA — Jeff Vinik's latest investment might be coming to a theater near you.

    Jeff Vinik, Tampa Bay Lightning owner, invested in a new movie company looking to appeal to a global audience. | [Times file photo]
  5. Trigaux: Look to new Inc. 5000 rankings for Tampa Bay's future heavyweights

    Business

    There's a whole lotta fast-growing private companies here in Tampa Bay. Odds are good you have not heard of most of them.

    Yet.

    Kyle Taylor, CEO and founder of The Penny Hoarder, fills a glass for his employees this past Wednesday as the young St. Petersburg personal advice business celebrates its landing at No. 25 on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in the country. Taylor, still in his 20s, wins kudos from executive editor Alexis Grant for keeping the firm's culture innovative. The business ranked No. 32 last year. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]