• Hiring Our Heroes event matches veterans with jobs


    MELBOURNE, Fla. - War veterans often have a difficult time returning home and finding a job.

    A job fair called Hiring Our Heroes is matching up service members with local companies.

    Organizers said Wednesday's event in Melbourne should help them reach their goal of hiring more than 500,000 veterans nationwide by the end of next year.

    Albert Bowden is out of the military and out of work. He moved from North Carolina to Florida and wasn't able to move much.

    His family's furniture consists of air mattresses and fold out chairs.

    "We've been on air mattresses probably since July," Bowden said.

    His stuff is stuck in storage. Bowden said he doesn't have the money to move it and could possibly find it auctioned off.

    Bowden said finding a job has been nearly impossible. Other veterans think it's hard because employers are looking for candidates with a more traditional track.

    "I think that a lot of these hiring managers are looking for what I would say is a very linear track so you went to college and you studied this specific major," Bowden said.

    The Melbourne Regional Chamber of East Central Florida joined forces with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and hosted Hire Our Heroes, a chance for veterans to learn about job opportunities.

    "We have companies like AT&T and Verizon, Walmart here and we have trucking companies and insurance companies so there's a wide variety of jobs available," Melbourne Regional Chamber President and CEO Christine Michaels said.

    Bowden said he's back in school and hopes an education gives him an edge with employers.

    Hiring Our Heroes launched the program two years ago and since then said it has helped 20,000 veterans find jobs nationwide.

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