BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. - The U.S. Labor Department says employers added 192,000 jobs in March, but the jobless rate remained steady at 6.7 percent.
That mark is lower than the rate among another section of the American workforce: military veterans.
Tennessee has a long and storied history of military service. The state's Volunteer nickname stems from the number of men who stepped up to fight in the War of 1812. Tennessee is also known for providing the most troops of any state to the Confederate Army during the Civil War.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the unemployment rate among service members who wore the uniform after 9/11 was at a staggering 9 percent in 2013.
Tennessee accounts for half a million of the country's veterans according to the state's Department of Labor and Workforce development.
Michael Everett spent nine years as a heavy construction specialist in the U.S.Army. Everett told News 5 he's been on the job hunt for the last month. "It's really hard to find a job out there, especially when people don't know if you're a veteran or not,"said Everett.
Companies like Sears, Lowes and the locally-owned Honey Do Service were at the Job Summit career fair in the hopes of taking advantage of workers molded by the honor of service. "We aggressively go after vets, because it helps them, and it helps us, " said Kingsport Honey Do franchise owner Greg Goldstein.
Goldstein told News 5 he sees giving a veteran a job as a way of paying back the sacrifice, and he knows he gets a quality employee. "Veterans, to me, represent loyalty, dedication, service to country," said Goldstein. "All the characteristics we're looking for in good employees. They know discipline. They know how to work in any environment."
"If we can find ways to show them that support and to genuinely help them, that's absolutely something we need to be doing," said State Representative Timothy Hill (R-Blountville).
Everett knows that the time spent at the job fair could lead to an interview, and maybe ultimately a job offer. "Basically this makes it easier to get your status out there and let people know you are a veteran," said Everett. "They are a lot more likely to hire you."
"Most of the companies that have dealt with veterans are excited to be able to reach that group or that population directly because the veterans are loyal, trustworthy, they show up for work on time," said Hill.
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