ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -- They risk their lives for the sake of our nation's safety. But too often veterans return and cannot find work back at home.
Open arms and happy tears can quickly turn to unbearable stress for veterans who struggle to find employment after deployment.
"It's important to have a purpose when you come home," said Iraq war veteran Jeremy Wolfsteller. "If you don't have a purpose then that's when things start happening to you mentally, you start thinking about what you did overseas."
Wolfsteller served two tours in Iraq. He was shot and disabled but he came home with a goal.
"My direction was to use my VA education benefits to go to school to learn a career and then find a job and apply that and that's what I did, and I haven't had any time to sit around and think about, oh, I got shot," said Wolfsteller.
For others it's not as easy as setting a goal and sticking to it.
"Everything that's connected to life -- I'm a veteran myself, really comes down to financial and job security," said Kenn Roehl, chair of Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Southeast Minnesota.
The key is identifying the skills of returning veterans and helping them get placed in a career as they reintegrate into civilian life.
"Right now, we have over 225 vacant manufacturing jobs," said John Wade, president of the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce. "These are jobs that are $50,000 a year, these are good jobs that are going unfilled because we don't have the right skill alignment and you know what? Veterans can fill a lot of that skill alignment."
Part of the goal is translating the training and skills they already have and matching them with employers as quickly as possible.
"They're not only brave people but they're also well qualified," said Wade.
The job fair is for both veterans and their spouses on Thursday, October 11, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Rochester International Event Center.
It's free but does require registration for those wanting to attend and employers hoping to be there as well. For more on registering click here.
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