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Heroes for hire: Kansas City career fair helps veterans find jobs

Posted: 5:25 PM, Sep 21, 2016
Updated: 2016-09-22 00:55:11Z

When it comes to hiring retired military, most employers can only sympathize with their experience ... that is unless you're Bill Ingram.

"I hope I make an impact on every veteran who comes through because most people they say they understand, but they really don't," said Bill Ingram, the housing locator and outreach specialist for Catholic Charities.

While he's dedicated his post-Marine Corps career to helping other veterans through Catholic Charities, Ingram spent years needing help instead of giving it.

"I have gone full circle on being gainfully employed, to homeless, to now gainfully employed once again," he said. "I can actually tell that veteran I have walked in their shoes."

That's why Catholic Charities and 199 other KC-area businesses turned out to a veteran career fair.

"Not everyone comes out of the military with a plan of what they will do next and so we have an obligation, and I think this event shows that obligation, that we want people to know there are opportunities out there and there are people out there to fill those positions and all we need to do is a little bit of matchmaking," said Scott Wagner, the Mayor Pro Tem for Kansas City, Missouri. 

The U.S. employment rates hovers at about 5 percent. And that's about the same rate for unemployed veterans. For female veterans, the unemployment rate is 5.4 percent and for men veterans it is 4.5 percent.

"The military doesn't teach you how to be a civilian again so hopefully meeting with the employers, knowing that it's just another person in front of you with an opportunity," said Ingram.

The next Veterans Job Fair takes place Thurs., Sept. 22 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Arrowhead Stadium.

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Terra Hall can be reached at terra.hall@kshb.com .

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