JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
Hundreds of job seekers visited, explored career options with and handed out resumes to Department of Defense employers at the Hiring Heroes Career Fair held in the Sam Houston Community Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston March 20.
More than 700 attendees came to the career fair that was open to all JBSA members, including transitioning, wounded, ill and injured service members, military spouses and family members, veterans, military retirees, primary caregivers, Department of Defense government civilians and DOD ID cardholders.
Attendees were able to visit and talk to representatives from 52 DOD employers offering job positions, including those from JBSA. A range of job positions and career fields offered by employers included IT, cybersecurity, law enforcement, medical, administrative, mechanical, technical and financial.
The Hiring Heroes Career Fair is held twice a year at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston in partnership with the Transition Assistance Program, located at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, and the Defense Personnel Advisory Service.
The Transition Assistance Program provides counseling and job assistance to service members who are preparing to leave the military. DCPAS is the agency that develops, implements and monitors DOD civilian human resources and programs throughout the world.
“We’re excited to see such a high turnout of employers and job seekers at today’s event,” said Hong Miller, DCPAS director of employment and compensation. “We have more than 60 booth spaces occupied by DOD employers today and those DOD employers are actually equipped with new hiring authorities that enable them to expeditiously hire transitioning warriors, veterans and military spouses. Many are conducting on the spot interviews and making job offers for cyber, STEM, IT and other jobs across the Department of Defense. The San Antonio community is an enormous supporter of our veterans and we’re grateful for the partnership and support of the local JBSA command and staff in making this event a success.”
Staff members from the 12th Maintenance Group at JBSA-Randolph conducted interviews for 99 full-time positions, including for entry-level mechanics and technical positions, at the career fair.
Robert West, 12th Maintenance Group director of maintenance, said this year was the first time the 12th Maintenance Group had a presence at the career fair. He said he was pleased with the quality of candidates that applied and were interviewed for positions with the maintenance group.
“We’ve been actually surprised because this our first time (at the fair),” West said. “We didn’t know what we were going to get. My hiring official who is here, he’s saying he’s excited that he’s filling these positions.”
Ronald Bartels, 12th Maintenance Operations Flight Manager at JBSA-Randolph, said through the interviews conducted at the fair the maintenance group is looking at 13 individuals to fill positions.
One of the career fair attendees who applied and interviewed for a position with the 12th Maintenance Group was Francisco Furio, a military spouse. An aircraft mechanic, Furio drove nearly 900 miles from Colorado Springs, Colorado, where his wife is the regional director for admissions and an adjunct professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy, to San Antonio to attend the fair.
Furio said he found out about the Hiring Heroes Career Fair and the positions for aircraft mechanics through an email sent to him by the Air Force Civilian Service. He said he is seeking a job in San Antonio because he and his wife have just bought a home and plan to move here.
“Since I knew I was coming to San Antonio, I just jumped into the car and came to the fair from Colorado Springs,” Furio said. “I went straight to the table that I wanted to go to first and they offered me an interview. I just interviewed and I’m going to walk around the tables later on.”
Furio said his interview went really well and as a result his prospects for landing a job with the 12th Maintenance Group were promising.
“The gentleman that interviewed me told me that he was going to recommend me for hire,” he said.
Maj. Charlotte Junkins, Warrior Transition Battalion senior nurse case manager at Brooke Army Medical Center, is a transitioning service member who attended the fair seeking a position in nursing or in nursing administration.
Junkins, who has served for 20 years, said she had attended the career fair before supporting the wounded warriors she has cared for. However, this year was the first time for her that she was actually visiting with employers about job positions once she transitions out of the Army.
“It was exciting,” Junkins said. “There’s some exciting career opportunities out there that people need to take advantage of because they can’t find this just anywhere. Our Hiring Heroes is a big deal. I visited every table because I like to talk. I talked to everyone, I put in four or five applications, gave them my name, gave them my resume.”
According to DCPAS, employers conducted 201 interviews and made 38 on the spot job offers at the career fair, with 55 job offers expected at a later date.
The March 20 career fair was the first one, since it started at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston in 2005, exclusively for DOD employers. Previous Hiring Heroes fairs included employers from the private sector and from federal, state and local governmental agencies.
“This year’s event was a little bit different from past events because we really were trying to bring in more DOD employers,” Miller said. “We are able to help our veterans and help our need to fill jobs in those particular areas. Then we’ll be able to support our veterans and support our hiring initiatives.”