The "Hiring Our Heroes - Chicago" job fair for veterans and military spouses starts kicks off at 9 a.m. at The Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan Ave. An events coordinator and military vet talk to NBC Chicago's Anthony Ponce about the event.
Making a connection that can land a good job: that was the goal for many Wednesday at “Hiring Our Heroes – Chicago” job fair for veterans and military spouses.
The fair kicked off at 9 a.m. at The Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan Ave.
"He's probably applied at 15 places and haven't heard anything," said Roxanne Tripp, a military spouse.
Her husband is not alone. There are 14,000 unemployed military veterans in the Chicago area. But the 135 employers at this job fair hoped to change that.
Gov. Pat Quinn personally welcomed a handful of the nearly 1,000 veterans and their spouses who came to find work.
"We want to go every length imaginable to give veterans a fighting chance at a good job," Quinn said.
Now helping hire veterans for Fifth Third Bank, Edward Schank lost an eye in Iraq and has this advice for those like him looking to start a new chapter in their lives.
"I have a new level of capability," Schank said. "It's up to you to decide the polarity."
Hiring Our Heroes was launched last March, aiming to host 100 job fairs in local communities across the country in its first year. After meeting the goal, the number of fairs was expanded to 400 in the second year.
More than 8,500 vets and military spouses have landed jobs through the fair.
Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicagoland Chamber CEO Jerry Roper will be among the guests attending Wednesday's Chicago fair. Though registration for employers has closed, walk-in veterans, Guard and Reserve members, and eligible spouses will be allowed with proper identification.
Hiring Our Heroes also will host a veterans job fair aboard the USS Intrepid Wednesday in New York City, as well as a military spouse fair in Fort Hood, Texas, and a Military.com virtual hiring fair. More events are planned for Midwestern locations the near future. For more information visit the U.S. Chamber of Commerce web site.