More than 20 veterans from the mid-Maryland region attended the inaugural Veterans Job Club in Carroll County Friday and LeRoy Thomas has no doubt that attendance will grow in future events.
"I'm very confident it will grow," said Thomas, a local veterans employment representative. "They [veterans] came here to witness it, and I know they're going to promote it."
Sponsored by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulations, the event at the Business and Employment Resource Center (BERC) in Westminster brought together 13 employers and about two dozen veterans to discuss job openings and county services available to veterans.
"This is more than an information fair," Thomas said. "This is intended to get people ready for employment."
Businesses represented at the event included local and regional employers, such as Carroll Area Transit System (CATS), Lowe's, T. Rowe Price, Prudential Insurance, and the Social Security Administration.
For Taneytown resident Ruth Barealo, the job club offered her contacts with employers and notification of veterans services, such as federal job resume assistance, that she wasn't aware of.
"It was definitely very helpful, very interesting," said Barealo, who served more than eight years as an Army counterintelligence agent.
Mike Sater, assistant adjutant with the Maryland chapter of Disabled American Veterans and a Vietnam veteran, said Friday's event and upcoming job clubs are "great opportunities" for veterans to find a job or change careers.
"To me, this is exciting," he said. "This is wonderful."