Iowans on a new mission -- finding employment - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowans on a new mission -- finding employment


On the surface, it appeared to be a typical job fair. But the men and women roaming the booths at the Waterloo National Guard Armory are not your average unemployed worker.

"I've been enlisted ever since high school in 2005, and then commissioned in 2009 after I graduated from Northern Iowa. Been an officer ever since. And just got back from Afghanistan," said new veteran Steven German.

Hundreds of veterans like German who returned home from Afghanistan in July are now on a mission to find a job. That includes more than one hundred men and women in the Cedar Valley.

The Waterloo Iowa Works Veteran Employment Representative Joan Koffler is devoted to connecting these new veterans with employers.

"When the employers come up to me and say, I talked with some really quality people today, thank you for inviting me. It's a win-win for everybody," said Koffler.

"More than sixty companies were represented at the 5th Annual Veteran Employment and Services Fair. Koffler points out, that not only shows the strength of the local economy -- it also shows the commitment and trust these businesses have in local veterans.

"They're not afraid to go, yeah! We'll hire veterans, who've you got? Let me see them, let me interview them," Koffler said.

"The skills that veterans have, being able to handle that kind of stressful situation being able to work with so many different types of people, are skills that are easily transferable to any type of position," said Trevor Kuecker, recruiting for GMAC Mortgage.

Not all companies are as proactive about hiring veterans.

"They might be a little bit frightened, because we've heard so much about PTSD in the media," Koffler explained.

But Koffler believes employers need to push any of these fears aside, and trust that a person who risked his life for our country, will have the same commitment to his career.

"I want the best for them. They've given up a lot for us, and we as people really need to recognize that," she said.

If you did not have an opportunity to attend Wednesday's Fair, Koffler asks you to stop by her office at 3420 University Avenue in Waterloo or call her at (319) 235-2123. As she put it -- the job fair is a once a year event, but finding work for vets is her job five days a week.

Powered by Frankly