Job fair held in Davenport to help employ veterans

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Aaron Eads knows about hard work in the Navy. He deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan as a machinist. Now, he's reinventing himself as a civilian.

"It is rough going from active duty status and then coming back here," he said.

The unemployment rate for post 9-11 veterans is more than two percentage points above civilians.

That's why Aaron joined other veterans in Davenport on Thursday. This Hiring Our Heroes job fair helps veterans to make that challenging transition.

Muscatine's HNI Corporation is recruiting veterans to work in skilled trades to office jobs.

"They've learned leadership skills," said HNI Vice President Gary Carlson. "They've learned how important communication is. They've learned how to work as a team."

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad joined business leaders to roll out the Get Skills to Work coalition. It will help veterans to transition into rewarding careers.

"We want veterans to be able to get jobs that are going to be meaningful," Gov. Branstad said. "Careers that will last a lifetime."

Iowa also offers tax-free military retirement income, educational benefits, housing incentives and more to attract veterans and their families.

At events like Hiring for Heroes, it's not just finding jobs for veterans. The program wants to find the right jobs for veterans.

It all makes sense to retired Col. Joe Tirone. He's visiting booths to help other veterans connect with careers.

"It might take a few months," he said. "It might take a year or so, but just keep plugging along."

Aaron Eads is back in school and making the most of it. Starting fresh in Iowa could be just the right thing.

"It's very important to hook up with the right skill set, not only for you,  but also the employer," he concluded.

From military to manufacturing, it's all about help for heroes.