Jefferson City Hosts Job Fair for Vets

7 years 11 months 3 days ago Thursday, November 11 2010 Nov 11, 2010 Thursday, November 11, 2010 6:51:56 PM CST November 11, 2010 in News

JEFFERSON CITY - This Veterans Day, unemployed vets had a chance to look for work Thursday at the job fair hosted by the Missouri National Guard. One of the booths at the armory building, Experience Works, has a special program for older people looking for jobs, called the Senior Community Service Employment Program. To be eligible for the program, a person must be 55 years old or older and qualify as low income.

You don't need to be a vet to qualify, but Susan Streit of Experience Works said it puts vets' applications at the top of the pile.  According to Streit, 28 percent of the people in the program are veterans.  Streit said some employers can practice age discrimination, but the employers she works with don't mind the applicants' age.

Sixty-five year old Phillip Williams served in Vietnam from 1968-1970.  While in Vietnam, he worked as a helicopter mechanic and maintenance technology inspector.  After retiring from the service, he worked for the Columbia Housing Authority as a maintenance man and also worked for Philips and Company as a delivery driver.  Williams hurt his back in 2003, and found himself unemployed.

"I don't know if you've ever sit for a long time with nothing to do but twiddling your thumbs, but it is a very boring experience," Williams said.

Luckily, he didn't remain bored for long.  He saw an Experience Works booth at a local job fair, and was hired by the Youth Empowerment Zone in Columbia.

At the Youth Empowerment Zone, Williams teaches basic computer skills to people who are trying to build their resumes and get a job.  Williams says he loves being able to help people find work, and has no plans of ever retiring.

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