Booths filled the gymnasium of the Olympia National Guard Armory off Eastside Street on Friday as hundreds of job seekers congregated in search of a new career.
The morning hours consisted of volunteers assisting between 35 and 40 homeless veterans before opening the armory doors to the public in the afternoon for a job fair.
It was the seventh annual Veterans Stand Down and Hiring Event at the armory, a program started by John Moysiuk, veteran representative at WorkSource Thurston County.
“I saw the need was out there, and we were trying to send one person around to 20 different locations to address some of the barriers (for veterans) that need to be addressed,” Moysiuk said.
After having a free breakfast, the homeless veterans were treated to a haircut thanks to the help of six barbers. They also received warm-weather clothing and sleeping bags.
“Some are in transitional housing, others at Camp Quixote, and some are literally on the streets,” Moysiuk said.
Representatives from the federal and state Veterans Affairs departments, as well Child Protective Services and other government organizations, were on hand to provide assistance.
Some of the veterans from the morning stayed for a complimentary lunch, while others started to trickle out of the facility at noon, just as folks dressed in their interview best filed in.
Among them was Amanda Lucarelly, who quit her job in October.
After filing for unemployment, Lucarelly had been receiving job search tips from WorkSource.
“They do an excellent job to give opportunities to people to find jobs,” she said as she headed toward her first interview of the day.
Moysiuk estimates there were more than 55 companies from all over the area. Some were offering interviews on the spot, while others were there for networking opportunities.Chelsea Krotzer: 360-754-5476 firstname.lastname@example.org theolympian.com/thisjustin @chelseakrotzer