March 18, 2015 | The 2015 Veterans’ Expo sponsored by Red River Army Depot and Texarkana College will be held today (Wednesday, March 18, 2015) at Texarkana College in the Truman Arnold Center.
“Usually, we have 5-10 people that leave there with a job on the spot. This year we will probably have 34 companies are getting ready to hire people. This is really exciting,” stated Sil Gomez, Workforce Management Specialist with the LEAD office at the Red River Army Depot.
34 exhibitors are scheduled to attend, according to Gomez.
Veterans will be able to get help with starting their benefits, talking with schools, and talking to local businesses about jobs.
“We realized there was not a lot of information on how to get their benefits started. We were are able to get the local clinic, Shreveport clinic and the regional office in Little Rock. There are participating to really get veterans to get their benefits and how to start the process and what they are entitled to,” stated Gomez.
Also, many public and private local businesses are scheduled to attend including FCI-Texarkana, Crimnal Justice department, public safety department from the Texas side, a couple of local banks, a couple of trucking companies.
“It is really exciting to see companies come and say ‘We want to be apart of the event’ “, stated Gomez.
“There is no doubt that hiring U.S. Veterans makes sense for our company. They possess skills like leadership, teamwork, integrity, and the ability to perform well under pressure. These skills have allowed us to build one of the best places to work in Texas,” stated Guaranty Bank & Trust Senior Vice President Gene Erwin.
The event start about four years ago when Red River saw a need and wanted to help out the community. “As the Army was downsizing soldiers and we started having a lot of wounded warriors coming back from the war, we started looking at how we could be providing opportunities for the veterans coming back. If we are not able to hire them, is there anyone in the community that can do that,” stated Gomez.
Red River also wanted to bring awareness to the community. “Our populationis 33% veterans. We are higher than the community of Texarkana. We do a combination of non-competitive hiring for veterans if they are qualified for the job. We also have competing position where veterans have priority. We are excited to do it. It not just a way to give back, but we are also excited to bring awareness to the community. Texarkana has a huge military community that most peole don’t know about. It is a way of helping veterans to get back on their feet,” stated Gomez.
Even though Red River would like hire all local veterans, it just is not feasible. “One of the things that is difficult because Red River is a manufacturing Installation. So, unless you were a mechanic in the military, our jobs might not fit all soldiers. That is the reason for the expo to open those opportunities,” stated Gomez.
At the moment, Red River Army Depot employees about 2,400 federal employees.