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Pittsburgh Job Fair Seeks To Help Veterans, Service Members, And Their Spouses

Sara D. Davis
AP Images for U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation
Veterans and military spouses attended the Fort Bragg Veterans Jobs Summit in 2014 in Fort Bragg, N.C. The Pittsburgh Veterans Job Fair will offer similar opportunities. It takes place at Heinz Field from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019.

job fair at Heinz Field Thursday will help veterans, military spouses, National Guard members, and reservists find work.

At least 45 employers are expected to accept applications for a range of jobs. The organizations include the City of Pittsburgh, Waste Management, and Highmark.

Disabled American Veterans and RecruitMilitary will host the free event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Military spouses in particular often struggle, despite their qualifications, to find work as they move from base to base. The U.S. Department of Defense estimates that 24 percent of civilians with a spouse on active duty are unemployed.

“Unfortunately, because of the military, you’re transitioning,” said Chris Stevens, senior vice president at RecruitMilitary. “So you might be transitioned from one base to another, and your significant other has to pick up and go with you, and then they have to start over again in a new place.”

Stevens said the issue has drawn more attention in recent years. Last year, for example, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to help military spouses obtain federal jobs.

The order “holds agencies accountable for increasing their use of the noncompetitive hiring authority for military spouses,” according to a May 2018 defense department statement. It also encourages businesses to expand opportunities for military spouses.

The job picture for veterans, meanwhile, is considerably brighter. Stevens noted that the unemployment rate among veterans is 3.4 percent — slightly better than the national rate of 3.7 percent.

Pennsylvania has the fourth-largest veteran population in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Stevens predicted that attendees at the Heinz Field job fair will have anywhere from four to 30 years of experience in the military.

“Because of their work ethic and being [deployed] in these different, obscure locations, they’re able to really fit well within corporate America,” said Stevens, who retired as a Master Sergeant from the U.S. Air Force.

“A lot of their peers just don’t bring those types of attributes to the table,” he said.

An-Li Herring is a reporter for 90.5 WESA, with a focus on economic policy, local government, and the courts. She previously interned for NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg in Washington, DC, and the investigations team at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. A Pittsburgh native, An-Li completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan and earned her law degree from Stanford University. She can be reached at aherring@wesa.fm.