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Veteran Career & Resource Fair at state Capitol

Veteran Career and Resources Fair Booths
Posted at 11:18 AM, Nov 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-08 13:19:15-05

HELENA — Veterans Week is in full swing at the Capitol, and on Tuesday, Governor Greg Gianforte invited those who served to find employment at the Capitol in Helena.

Navy veteran Michael Harris said, “When we’re in the service, the positions that we held, the ranks that we held, that was our identity. When we come out, we don’t have that anymore.”

He entered the civilian workforce after 35 tears of service to our country and came to the event to look for post-service employment opportunities.

Harris said, “I’m still searching around trying to find my way and figure out what I’m gonna do when I grow up. So, this is a great place to learn.”

Tuesday’s job fair featured employers with the state and private businesses.

Karen Pearson is the CEO and Co-Founder of Adaptive Performance Center, a fitness center that specializes in helping veterans and service members.

They were one of more than a dozen booths set up in the rotunda.

“Employment for veterans gives them back a purpose. You can’t take somebody in the military, who was highly trained, they’re working 24/7 365, and then they get out of the military, and they go to a job, and somebody looks at them and goes make me a cup of coffee,” said Pearson.

Montana faces a critical labor shortage, one the Montana Department of Labor and Industry says, “threatens to stifle growth and leave our economy behind.”

According to the Department of Labor and Industry, September marked the 23rd straight month with unemployment below three percent.

In the recent labor report, the state estimates there are nearly three job openings for every one unemployed person.

Pearson says veterans can bring a lot to a team and employers who overlook their skills and training are missing out.

“Hiring veterans, you have the most reliable person you’ll ever have,” she said.

And for veterans like Harris, events like this one can be vital in connecting them to opportunities.

He said, “I’ve actually been able to drop off my resume with a couple of different tables and so I’m always hopeful.”