Job fair aims to hire veterans for positions at Port Elizabeth

A unique job fair was held at Port Elizabeth today with the goal of getting our heroes hired. (5/28/14)

ELIZABETH - A unique job fair was held at Port Elizabeth today with the goal of getting our heroes hired.

Chris Jordan, 26, of Hillsborough, has a college degree and is in the Navy Reserve. "For me it's been tough, just with a college degree," he says. "You think you're set with it, but in reality, you're not." Jordan was one of nearly 300 veterans who came out to a job fair organized just for them.

"I know its a struggle for a lot of people," Jordan says. "That's why when we come out to these things, we feel very optimistic."

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The Labor Department is working with the New York Shipping Association, which represents about 40 companies, and the union representing longshoremen at area ports to fill nearly 350 jobs this year. 

Those hiring say the jobs are perfect for men and women of the military.

"We believe that veterans, based on the difficult conditions they worked in the past will be able to work in the different conditions we have in the port," says John Nardi, president of the New York Shipping Association. He says they are used to structure and are the type of people they are looking for.

The job fair is part of an ongoing agreement between the unions representing the workers and companies hiring to ensure that 51 percent of all new hires here are veterans.

"Being in the military is a high stress level," Jordan says. "If we can handle that, we can handle any kind of job."

Most of the available jobs are as heavy equipment operators and longshoremen. Employers expect to have even more marine terminal jobs available next year as they restructure shift work and add positions.

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