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Surge of veterans seeking jobs in Anchorage

By Lauren Maxwell Photojournalist: Rachel McPherron - 7:22 PM June 25, 2014

Anchorage has a low unemployment rate, but new competition for jobs is about to come on the market. Hundreds of local service members who are being downsized from the military are expected to be out of a job within the next six months.

Some of them have already begun the hunt for new employment. A veteran’s job fair at the Northway Mall on Tuesday had a large turnout of job seekers and more than 60 companies that were interested in hiring.

James Hastings runs Hero 2 Hired, a company that specializes in helping vets find jobs and transition to civilian work. He said military cuts are never easy, but these come at a time when jobs are available.

“It’s going to happen,” Hastings said. “I think in Alaska we may see a 1,000 to 1,500 displaced workers by the end of the year. On one side it’s a bad thing because now we have people out of work; the good side is that the Alaska economy is growing.”

Hastings said employers would be smart to recruit vets, and not just because they get tax breaks for hiring them. He said vets bring a lot to the table because of their military experience.

“At some point we have faced a lot of challenges,” said Hastings, who spent almost two decades in the Army. “We’ve been on time, on target, and required to be responsible for more than ourselves. And that is something that is huge in the workplace, is the ability to know that your employee has your best interests at heart.”

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