Heroes for Hire gives veterans a foot in the door
Bridgeport resident Daniel Bell walked into the Heroes for Hire job fair for veterans with an open mind and plenty of resumes in his folder.
It was the first time the Army veteran, who served from 2002 to 2006 and was deployed to Iraq twice in that time, had ever been to a job fair.
“I’m open to any position because the job I was in was seasonal,” the Stamford native said. “I’m here to find something more permanent and full-time.”
A half-hour into the event, held at the University of Bridgeport, Bell, 32, had already handed out a few resumes and was feeling optimistic about his chances of finding employment.
Roughly three dozen employers participated in the fair Tuesday, including Norwalk-based Frontier Communications.
“We’re a military-friendly employer,” said Francheska Calderon, a recruitment specialist with Frontier. “There are a lot of veterans out of work. This is a chance for us to be here for them.”
According to the company, veterans and military spouses make up 13 percent of their workforce.
Other employers at the fair included Westport-based Gault Family Companies and Bridgeport-based People’s United Bank. Most of the companies had opportunities for full-time positions throughout the state.
But Courtney West, 36, a New Haven native who now lives in Bridgeport, said he was looking for a seasonal opportunity.
The Army veteran, who served from 2004 to 2007, said he plans to start taking courses at Housatonic Community College in January and was hoping to find a temporary job until then.
Seymour resident Rich Navarrete, 34, on the other hand, was looking for a chance at full-time employment outside the retail industry he currently works in. He was excited to see the U.S. Postal Service was at the event.
“I’m looking to do something different,” said Navarrete, who served eight years in the Army. “It’s a good opportunity for me to expand my horizons and make a little more money.”
He rushed over to the job fair in a T-shirt and black jeans after seeing an email about the event that same morning. He said he wished he could have been better prepared with copies of his resume and business attire, but he couldn’t let anything stop him from potentially getting his foot in the door.
“I need to stay working,” the 50-year-old said. “This is a great opportunity.”