Alaska veterans and military spouses spoke with about 140 vendors at a career fair at the University Center Mall in Anchorage Wednesday.
In 2010, 11.5 percent of veterans that had served since 2001 were unemployed, according to the Department of Labor. That compares to a national unemployment rate for non-veterans of 9.4 percent.
"I'm from California, the job market is really tight," Kenneth Riley said, who served with the 1st Marine Brigade from 1974 to 1976.
A friend told Riley that it might be easier to find employment in Alaska, since he worked with weapons while he was in the service.
"I'm hoping to find a job in maintenance, somewhere in that area, or customer service," Riley said.
Finding a job can also be tough for military spouses like Kate Kaiser who moved to Anchorage two weeks ago after her husband was reassigned.
"We didn't find out until June that we were moving to Alaska," Kaiser said. "There weren't really any jobs left in education at that point, so now I'm trying to use other skills to find a job."
Over the next few years thousands of men and women will return from Iraq and Afghanistan and hope to join the work force. Service personnel like U.S. Army Sgt. Allen Neal Patterson are planning ahead.
"I'm spending some time getting an understanding of what these companies offer," Patterson said.
Patterson has been in the army for eight years, he will get out in about seven months. "I feel like I have a lot of good qualities I can bring, and I feel ready," Patterson said.
There are resources available for both veterans and military spouses at the government website vetsuccess.gov.
Contact Jackie Bartz at firstname.lastname@example.org