Some of the state's 30,000 job-seeking veterans got the opportunity to show off their skills to prospective employers at the Heroes 4 Hire career fair in East Hartford on Tuesday.
Organizers say it's the largest career fair in Connecticut and the largest career fair for veterans in all of New England.
"Getting these vets in front of the employers is what’s important because there is an issue with vets getting jobs when they get home," said Jim Lauber, who works with veterans at the Connecticut Department of Labor.
The challenge of finding work is different for each veteran.
John Carroll says he suffered from PTSD after the Gulf War and ended up in prison. Now he’s just looking for a second chance.
"Pretty much all I’m looking for is a chance to prove to somebody that I can be reliable," said Carroll.
Reliability and discipline are common characteristics that make veterans attractive employees.
"They’ve had great training, great skills. They know a tough work environment, and they’re pretty well adaptable to change," explained Greg Beno, senior branch manager at Adecco USA.
It’s not just veterans seeking jobs, but also their spouses.
Carla McCoy’s husband is in the Army, and she expects to move every two to three years. She’s on the search for a job that can move with her.
"I’m looking for something where I can grow and also something’s that transferable to our next station," said McCoy, who lives in Chicopee, Massachusetts.
For Gregory Ackison, who worked as everything from a military mail carrier to a medic in three different branches, the challenge is trying to find something as rewarding as serving his country.
"Taking that next step. To make it as meaningful as where you served and why you served," said Ackison, of Somers.
As the draw-down of troops continues, experts say more veterans will be on the job hunt.