Serving Jobs to Those Who Have Served

On March 20, the University of Southern California will sponsor a veteran hiring event designed to provide real jobs to those in need. According to the United States Census Bureau, there are 354,430 veterans in Los Angeles County. While most are old enough to have served in Vietnam, 36,000 have served since 2001. Finding good jobs is critical to the financial and emotional health of these new veterans, but researchers have found that nearly 19% are unemployed and thousands are falling into poverty and suffering from chronic mental health conditions. Unlike traditional job fairs, which often provide mostly informational interviews to job seekers, the event will provide access to employers who are hiring and who have open job opportunities. The morning will focus on educational sessions to help veterans communicate with employers in addition to translating military skills to the job market. The afternoon will feature a hiring event where veterans can meet with employers to discuss position for which they are actively recruiting.

Providing veterans with jobs and housing has been a long-standing priority for Los Angeles County Chairman, Mark Ridley-Thomas. For example, in October 2012, the supervisor co-authored a motion to provide $11 million in funding for affordable housing projects that will benefit homeless people, low-income veterans and other at risk populations. Approximately 176 units are expected to be built as a result of this investment.

Veterans are also a key component of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s historic agency wide Project Labor Agreement authored by Supervisor Ridley-Thomas and supported by a broad coalition of labor organizations, community activists and other elected officials last year. Under the provisions of the agreement, 10% of those who are covered by the agreement must be disadvantaged — meaning they meet at least two of nine criteria, including homelessness, chronic unemployment, and are veterans.

“Providing access to gainful employment for those who have served our country is essential,” said Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas. “How well we treat our veterans is a indicator of our society’s commitment both to fairness and to economic justice.”

For more information and to register for the USC Veteran Hiring Event, click here.