Thursday, October 25, 2012
U.S. Navy Commander George Byrd, is Regional Wounded Warrior Coordinator and SPAWAR Wounded Warrior Program Manager
Bobby Green is a U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq
Crystal May Pelham is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, she served in Iraq in the Marine Corps for 3 and a half years as a heavy machinery diesel mechanic.
Editor's note: Bobby Green was incorrectly described as having served in Afghanistan on KPBS Midday Edition. We regret the error.
The Department of the Navy's 3rd Annual Wounded Warrior Hiring and Support Conference will be in San Diego on October 29 and 30 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt.
Employers and wounded warriors interested in attending can register online here.
The U.S. Navy will host a hiring and support conference for wounded warriors next week in San Diego. The event asks employers to step up for veterans. Many business owners say they do support military men and women, especially those who've been wounded and disabled. But the wounded warrior conference is asking for more than support. It wants to see employers hire wounded veterans.
George Byrd, Regional Wounded Warrior Coordinator and SPAWAR Wounded Warrior Program Manager, told KPBS that the unemployment rate for veterans in San Diego is about 16 percent, double the national unemployment rate.
Crystal May Pelham, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, served in Iraq for more than three years as a heavy machinery diesel mechanic. She fell 9 feet while on duty and required several surgeries to be able to walk again. She said after returning home, it was almost impossible to find a job.
"I went from job fair to job fair, I asked questions and all I got was, 'sorry we can't help you,'" she said. "You can only attend so many job fairs before you just want to get up."
But next week's conference hopes to be different. It is free for wounded warriors, and event organizers say businesses including Northrop Grumman Corporation, Bank of America and Raytheon Company as well as Navy commands and the federal government agencies will host booths and accept resumes. Veteran support organizations will also host booths.
"Since last year's conference, the Department of the Navy has hired 9,478 veterans to include 1,647 returning service members with 30 percent or higher disability ratings," said Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Juan Garcia. "We are committed to increasing this number through various initiatives."
Claire Trageser contributed to this report.