More than 300 veterans seek jobs at Dodger Stadium career fair
Chad Peckham has been unemployed for almost three years. A former bomb assembler for the U.S. Navy, the 43-year-old has found it tough to transfer his military skills to support his wife and three kids.
Peckham was one of more than 300 people Wednesday who attended the Los Angeles veterans job fair at Dodger Stadium, tailored specifically for veterans and military spouses.
"I come to this [career fair] and there are some real heavy-hitters with positions that I qualify for," said Peckham, who met with recruiters from Activision, Chevron, City National Bank and Wal-Mart.
At 11:30 a.m., a line formed out the door with people waiting to meet potential employers. About 60 vendors were offering more than 5,000 jobs.
Four years ago, Bernard Beale had just left the Coast Guard and was looking for work. He attended a similar career fair and was hired by Wal-Mart. Today, he's the store manager at the Stevenson Ranch Wal-Mart, looking to help fill 150 jobs in Southern California.
"A lot of veterans have valuable skills, but we just need to transition them into civilian skills," Beale said.
After making the rounds in the room, Theo Ramlal, 30, and his wife, Sam Kounlavong, 35, had high hopes. He said his eight-year stint in the Marines as a trucker made him a strong leader.
"You don't think much of it, but the ability to make decisions ... that's something a lot of us don't realize it's something someone is looking for," Ramlal said.
Ramlal left the military in March and has relied mainly on the Internet for his job search. By the time he left the career fair, he had already scored four interviews.
-- Melissa Leu
Photo: Jory Rogers, 30, right, talks with a recruiter from Chevron, after driving four hours from his home in Paso Robles with his wife, Natay Carter, left, and son Landon Rogers, 9 months, to attend a veterans career fair at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times