Thousands of jobs available at hiring fair during Cobo veterans conference

(WXYZ) - Veterans will have the chance to apply for more than 25,000 jobs at a special conference at Cobo Center starting today.

The National Veteran Small Business Conference & Expo runs from June 26 to 29.

Detroit was specifically selected by the VA because of the high number of vets and the high rate of unemployment.

They say about 800,000 in the state are jobless and more than 300,000 living in the Detroit metro area.

Scott Bennefield served in the Marines in Desert Storm.  He told 7 Action News  he is now homeless, and says he's never been this hard to find a job.

"Finding work at the moment, I'm finding it very difficult,"  said Bennefield.  "I've tried without much success at all."

The event is also a chance for small businesses to network and win government business. An open house will also be held for veterans to enroll for benefits and receive health screenings.

"The hiring practices and methods that we did twenty, thirty years ago have changed.  For example, now many companies are using key word searches for resumes and doing automatic scanning rather than using a person,"  said Lou Gignac at Va Hospital.  

James Bell, a vet, served in Vietnam.  He was homeless at one point and on drugs.  He credits a doctor from Salvation Army for turning his life around and Va Hospital in Detroit for giving him a place to work.

He works at the hospital helping veterans find jobs and beef up their resumes.  "There's millions of jobs. I'm online every day.  The thing is the skill level," said Bell.  "A lot of  veterans are not qualified."

The Veteran Open House will run each day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Macomb Hall.

Organizers encourage vets to pre-register.


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