For military veterans, trading rucksacks for opportunity in the civilian job market is a tough transition.
Consider that the jobless rate for Iraq War-era veterans was 10 percent in October, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The rate was higher -- a staggering 15.5 percent -- for female veterans. And it was higher still for younger veterans, state employment officials say.
But a local University of Phoenix campus is doing its part to try to turn the tide.
The university's Sacramento campus, 2860 Gateway Oaks Drive, hosts its "Start Strong" event at 6 p.m. Thursday.
For more information, visit www.phoenix.edu/ militaryevent.
The free event is open to the public with an emphasis on veterans, active-duty military and their families. It focuses on tools and resources military members will need to make the transition to the civilian workplace.
"What we're doing at this event is trying to help them get the skills they need to be successful," said Scott Lewis, a vice president at University of Phoenix's Sacramento campus.
That means shoring up resume-building and interviewing skills, putting together a plan to find jobs, connecting with firms that hire and matching skills learned in uniform to the needs of civilian employers, Lewis said.
"They need to find out what are these skills and utilize them in the right direction," he said. "They have expertise and skills that can be attractive to employers."
Also on the schedule: Panel discussions with active-duty military, networking sessions with local employers and career-transitioning workshops.
With thousands more veterans returning to civilian life, university officials said the need for such help is clear.
"An ever-increasing number of military personnel are coming from Afghanistan and around the world," Lewis said, adding the objective should be to "help assimilate those who've served so faithfully."
"We're going to have the resources available to help make their transfer a little bit smoother," Lewis said.
Others, from local employers and business organizations to state and federal agencies, are also doing their part to help veterans.
-- CalVet -- the California Department of Veterans Affairs -- brings together veterans and employers through its Honor-a-Hero, Hire-a-Vet job fairs. It has launched a website, www.vets101.org, with employment and other resources for veterans.
-- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is teaming with recruiting firm RecruitMilitary for the Hiring Our Heroes career event, to run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 29 at O.co Coliseum, 7000 Coliseum Way in Oakland.
Visit www.uschamber.com, then select the "Hiring Our Heroes" icon.
-- Rancho Cordova-based Vision Service Plan works with programs such as the Wounded Warrior Program and the state Employment Development Department's Vet-Net veterans' networking program to place veterans in different areas of the company.
-- Pacific Gas and Electric Co. will offer two training courses in May 2013 for recently discharged veterans to help them move into energy careers through the utility's PowerPathway program.
For more information, visit www.pge.com/powerpathway.
Career fair Thursday
Sales recruiter HireLive returns to Sacramento with a Thursday career fair.
The free event from 9 a.m. to noon at Embassy Suites Riverfront Promenade, 100 Capitol Mall, targets sales, retail and management professionals. Job seekers will be able to meet and interview with employers' representatives at the career fair.
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