HAVERHILL — One of the 25 employers who participated in a job fair for veterans summed up the event in a few words: “We owe it to them for their service to our country.”
Joseph Soucy, a recruiter for the nonprofit financial services company Modern Woodmen of America, remembers how hard it was to find a job when he returned from overseas in 1992 after serving with the U.S. Army.
“I was terrified. I had no idea what I was going to do,” he said yesterday during a job fair presented by the ValleyWorks Career Center and held in the Hartleb Technology Center on the Haverhill campus of Northern Essex Community College.
“For the guys returning, it’s very important for employers to be here today,’’ he said. “My son is serving with the Army in Afghanistan and he may need something like this when he returns. For employers, it’s paramount to make veteran hiring a priority. We owe it to them for their service to our country.”
Yesterday’s job fair, titled “A Salute to U.S. Military Veterans,” was open to all job seekers, although special emphasis was placed on veterans, who went to the front of the line. The event was held in partnership with the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce.
Roger Andersen, 58, of North Andover served in the U.S. Navy during the 1970s and up until this summer had a good job working at Logan Airport for the Department of Homeland Security. He said he was laid off after being unable to pass one of the many annual certifications needed to retain his job as a lead transportation security officer.
“I have an opportunity to go back to school, which I’m thinking about, but I’m also looking for jobs in the security field as I’m military qualified,” Andersen said. “Losing my job was a big disappointment for me. Fortunately my wife picked up my health insurance and I get unemployment.”