TRAVERSE CITY — Fred Marsh is a hero looking to be hired.
The Army and Navy veteran recently lost his job driving trucks and decided to further his education by enrolling in Northwestern Michigan College’s engineering technology program.
He fell on hard times while waiting for his classes to start, but found help from the Veterans Administration and a neighbor who financially helped him to keep a roof over his head.
“I got a whole new outlook as of this morning,” he said Monday. “A fellow veteran and fellow truck driver helped me out.”
Marsh hopes the help continues as he seeks a job to pay bills as his classes are covered through the Post-9/11 GI bill. He thinks he has a line on an employer willing to work around his school schedule, and plans to meet them at the Hiring Our Heroes job fair.
More than 45 employers are expected to participate in the event from 10:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. today in NMC’s Hagerty Conference Center. The event is hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
Ron Smith retired from the Navy and now is a member of the Traverse Area Human Resources Association Board of Directors. He said veterans and military spouses can struggle to find employment for various reasons, from concerns over post-traumatic stress disorder to perceived skills mismatches.
“(Veterans) are not used to selling themselves,” he said. “This is new to them to get out there. A huge problem is translating military lingo into a civilian resume.”
Smith said his organization has a free employment workshop an hour before the event that includes resume writing class and interview coaching.
“I encourage veterans in a job now to look at what’s out there,” he said. “There’s going to be some really nice offers for employment.”