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Job Fair aims to help local veterans find new opportunity

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ANN MARIE AMES
May 8, 2010
— Wanted for hire: Person with experience in heavy-machinery operation, bridge design and construction, line work, commanding groups of people and jumping out of airplanes.

While one particular local employer might not need that combination of skills, it was on at least one resume Friday morning during the Rock County Veterans Job Fair at the Army National Guard Armory.


What that skill set and the skill sets of other veterans show is a willingness to learn and a dedication to work, said Dale Belke, job center veteran employment representative and event coordinator.


“These are hardworking men and women who would have worked until they dropped,” Belke said. “But through no fault of their own, the places they worked shut the doors.”


Dozens of employers—both local and national—had booths at the all-day event. Employment opportunities ranged from social work to manufacturing and included Tyson Foods, Stoughton Trailers, Edward Jones and Riverfront.


The example resume belongs to fair attendee Peter Conway of Janesville. Conway, 47, worked for 24 years at Janesville’s General Motors plant before he lost his job.


He also is a 15-year veteran of the U.S. Army who served in Operation Desert Storm, he said.


Conway’s been pounding the pavement looking for work and appreciated the chance to meet a roomful of employers who were hiring.


“This is great for me,” he said.


Too often, employers say they just hired someone, they’re not hiring or they’re not taking applications, Conway said.


And it’s a fine line between following up on a job application and being a pest, he said.


Conway says he’ll keep looking for a job locally, despite grim prospects.


“I have reasons for wanting to stay in the area,” Conway said. “We all make choices, and hopefully they’re good choices.”


To learn more

The Rock County Job Center services dislocated workers, veterans, people with disabilities and others who are looking for work.


The center has computer equipment, fax machines and other tools to help in job searches. The center also hosts weekly resume writing and interviewing workshops, among other services.


Visit the job center at 1900 Center Ave., Janesville, or call (608) 741-3400.



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