They've bravely served our country overseas. Now some of Oklahoma's finest are struggling to find work here at home.
The latest jobs report shows the unemployment rate for veterans is higher than the civilian unemployment rate. Right now our nation's newest veterans, those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, are having the toughest time finding jobs.
The unemployment rate for those veterans is now above 10 percent, much higher than the national rate just under eight percent.
Hundreds of veterans looking for work navigate their way through a job fair in downtown Oklahoma City.
"The actual job search, looking, going out and doing it…like they say, it's a job in itself, so that's been hard," Kristopher Van Boven said.
Van Boven served in the Army for nine years, and did two tours of duty in Iraq. Now, back on Sooner soil, Van Boven and those he served with are trying to find civilian jobs, and it hasn't been easy.
"I know a lot of guys that had issues," Van Boven says. "They were hoping to get better jobs. They had a hard time getting companies to pick them up for those jobs. That's what I'm having a problem with right now as well, just finding the right fit for me."
"If there's a company out there that's going to hire one person this year, why wouldn't they want it to be a veteran? With the tax credits they get for hiring veterans, plus they've already given so much to us. It's our duty to give back to them," Recruit Military Vice President of Sales Mike Rollins said.
The recruiting firm is encouraging companies to give back to vets who are working toward new goals in their lives.
"I want to take my experience in the Army to a management position," Van Boven said.
More than 60 companies were at Thursday's job fair. Other vets said they feel confident in finding jobs here in Oklahoma City because of our low unemployment rate, which is now at 4.6%.
You can find an online job board at www.recruitmilitary.com