METHUEN, Mass. – The Massachusetts National Guard Community Outreach Program held a career fair at the
Methuen Readiness Center, here, April 11. The purpose of the fair was to bring together prospective employers and Guardsmen in an effort to lower the numbers unemployed Guardsmen.
“This event was put together because many of our Soldiers are coming back from overseas and with the help of Sgt. 1st Class Nicole McNamara we contacted employers,” said 1st Lt. Tania Carter, community outreach program manager. “We’ve reached out to over 50 employers, and today we’ve confirmed 33 employers are attending the career fair.”
Community Outreach was assisted by the Employer Support of Guard and Reserve with the event.
One way that the ESGR is supporting the fair as well as future events is with the Hero2Hire program, which includes multiple effective tools such as a mobile application and virtual career fairs, said Ellie Cash, program support specialist.
“It is partnered with the Yellow Ribbon Program,” explained Cash.
Furthermore, the event started as an idea that started in the community outreach program office and then bloomed into something more.
“We were in a conference meeting with General Hammond while he was in Afghanistan and his concern was that he had soldiers under his command coming home with no jobs,” said Carter. “Since we had already had a career fair planned we decided to have the event coincide with their return because we also have part time Soldiers with no jobs so we’re trying to help them as well.”
Additionally, this career fair was part of a strong push for leadership to take notice of the issue of unemployment.
“We’re just hoping that by doing this specific career fair and having reached out to everybody that it will also put the word out to leaders in and around the state to really look into their own units and discover there are more people than they think unemployed and sometimes homeless,” said McNamara, training and operations non-commissioned officer, state aviation office. “So it’s important for leaders to ask questions because pride sometimes gets in the way of people offering up the information, but if they’re asked it could be different. There is help out there and these companies we have coming here today are actually hiring people, they’re not just here for informational purposes.”
There will be more career fairs in the future according to McNamara and Carter. They’re hoping to have them twice a year coordinating around when deployed units are returning.