Robert Fleming, a marine who has served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, returned to civilian life some six weeks ago.
On Wednesday afternoon, he attended the 8th annual Veterans’ Job Fair at Northeastern University to get a better idea of how he should begin the next phase of his life.
“Do I want to get a job in a management role or would it be more beneficial to get an MBA?” Fleming said. “I have real-world management experience,” he added, noting his use of top-of-the-line technology on the battlefield.
Fleming was among approximately 300 veterans who networked, handed out résumés and exchanged business cards with more than 160 employers who filled the Cabot Cage for the event, which was sponsored in part by Northeastern and the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services.
In 2009, Northeastern reaffirmed its commitment to education for veterans by pledging $2 million to the Yellow Ribbon Program. Under the program, Northeastern provides free tuition to nearly 200 veterans who have served in the post-9/11 era.
Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray attended the fair to meet with employers and veterans, whom he praised for being “goal-oriented.”
“Veterans come ready and willing to work in high-stress environments,” said Murray, chair of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Veterans’ Services. “It’s important that both employers and the general public understand and appreciate the commitment veterans have made through their military training.”
Leadership and team-building skills acquired by veterans through service make them uniquely suited to succeed in the workplace, noted Maria Stein, the university’s director of career services, which helps veterans ease the transition from military to collegiate life.
“Veterans are valuable contributors to our community and to society at-large,” she said.
Employers agreed. K Moy, a staffing specialist for Brigham and Women’s Hospital, for example, praised veterans for their discipline, diligence and decision-making.
“Veterans do so much,” she said. “We want to give back by giving them guidance and helping them get jobs when they return [from service].”
Cisco Systems Inc., a multinational corporation that designs, manufactures and sells networking equipment, is part of a major initiative to hire 100,000 veterans and military personnel by the end of 2020.
Rachael Jacobson, a career services manager for Cisco, attended the fair in search of veterans with expertise in business, finance and engineering. “We’re looking for a diverse workplace with people with new ideas and different ways of looking at things,” she said, noting that veterans bring “discipline and good leadership qualities” to the office.