Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center
Veterans Job Fair assists hundreds
Close to 1,000 Veterans and active duty service members turned out March 9 for the Veterans Job Fair and VA Forum held at the North Charleston Convention Center. The event, sponsored by U.S. Senator Tim Scott, the Department of Veterans Affairs and several other state and local agencies, sought to bring employment and benefits services directly to Veterans in need of assistance.
More than 100 employers – to include Boeing, SPAWAR, Walmart, Verizon Wireless, Goodwill and others – were on hand to interact with job seekers, answer questions and take applications and resumes. The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center and the Columbia VA Regional Office were onsite to help Veterans enroll for VA health care and conduct VA claims workshops. VA leadership also spent time at the event conversing with area Veterans and addressing concerns.
"There are many service members transitioning to Veteran status that are in need of jobs and the VA appreciates Senator Scott's leadership on bringing together some of the best employers in the Charleston area to help meet that need," said Scott Isaacks, director of the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center.
In addition to receiving valuable employment assistance, nearly 180 Veterans were able to speak individually with VA eligibility and claims representatives to navigate the sometimes tricky enrollment process for health care and benefits.
"We understand that sometimes it can feel like a faceless procedure," said Leanne Weldin, VA Regional Office director. "It's nice at events like this for our Veterans to be able to sit down face-to-face with a claims person and get enrolled so they can start receiving and utilizing the benefits they've earned."
Scott visited the event to take stock of the progress being made. The senator explained that the job fair was a way for area employers and the VA to "pay it forward" and express gratitude for our Veterans and their service to our country. He also lauded the partnership with the VA in helping to coordinate a one-stop-shop event for Veterans seeking help.
"We've been hearing a lot of negative news about the VA in the recent past," Scott said. "But here is a day when we should celebrate the VA and the great work they are doing in the Lowcountry for our Veterans."
Several employers were looking to hire immediately for open positions and acknowledged the quality work force present in the Veteran community. Scott said that a couple dozen Veterans were hired at the last event of this kind, which was held in 2013. He fully expects that this event will result in even more placements for Veterans in search of work.