Army Spc. Antonio Makins waited with a folder of resumes hoping a new career was just beyond the double doors.
A former infantry soldier, Makins attended a job fair at the Fort Gordon Army Reserve Center on Tuesday. He attends school full time for web design, and he planned to market his computer skills, leadership qualities and ability to think quickly under pressure to potential employers.
“I’m looking at everything with an open mind,” Makins said. “A lot of these jobs look for tangible skills. They want somebody who has leadership experience.”
The Georgia Department of Labor, a co-sponsor of the job fair, said the employers are seeking the skill sets of military personnel. General Dynamics, Entegra Systems, Lowe’s, Quantum Dynamics Inc., Bridgestone and the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office were among the 52 employers at the job fair.
“We’ve been doing this so long that employers actually look forward to being here,” said James Abron Jr., Georgia Department of Labor manager.
A total of 1,350 job seekers attended the fair, Abron said.
Abron said the employers were evenly split between local and national companies. The job fair reserved the first hour for those in the Warriors in Transition program, and then opened to the public.
Army Spc. Edgar Rodriguez returned from Afghanistan on April 20. He’s living temporarily at Fort Gordon in Warriors in Transition before returning to his wife and two daughters in Puerto Rico. He hoped to find a job Tuesday so he can move his family to the mainland.
“I don’t have any experience in the civilian side. I’m a mechanic and a combat engineer,” Rodriguez said. “It’s really hard to get a job when you don’t have a college degree or any past jobs to put on a resume.”
Troops to Teachers, a program that offers military members financial assistance to earn teaching certification, was also recruiting.
Anita Bryant, the office manager for the southeast region, said she would get about 30 applications from the job fair.
“Military personnel have the discipline. They know how to discipline our children,” Bryant said. “They’re great mentors for our students.”