Peter Clapsaddle, 23, of Brigantine, was discharged from the Marines in May.
He’s already enrolled at Richard Stockton College and attended a veterans job fair at the Campus Center on Monday to get information about jobs.
His goal is to join the State Police, but he also got information about security jobs at the Tropicana and Borgata casinos from their booths at the fair.
“Right now I’m just trying to get back to being a regular person,” Clapsaddle said. “I’m going to go to classes and try to find a job.”
Co-sponsored by the Atlantic County Office of Veterans Services, U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-2nd, and Stockton, the veterans job fair offered one-stop shopping for a variety of veterans services. There was information about attending college and the GI Bill benefits that can help pay for it. Support groups provided information about health services. Employers offered job opportunities.
Robert Houston, 47, an Army veteran from Winslow Township, Camden County, is unemployed and was trying to get a feel for what jobs he could do.
“Everything looks promising,” he said. “But I need some more computer skills.”
Vanessa Cook, a recruiter for Comcast, said the company likes to hire veterans and will train them, but many of the jobs are entry level and older veterans with families need to make more money.
They can work their way up and earn a lot more on overtime,” she said. “But the starting salary lags behind what they are used to.”
Tropicana Casino and Resort has job openings for a licensed HVAC mechanic and plumber, a casino cashier, computer operator, marketing operations representatives, and security and special events officers. Human resources representative Michael Pompei said veterans are preferred candidates and typically apply for security positions.
While most employers now have online applications, Pompei said it did help candidates if they came in to meet him personally and presented a resume.
“It’s a great way to get a feel for them, especially with casino work, which is so much about customer service,” he said.
Several agencies offered information about veterans services. Bancroft, a nonprofit rehabilitation service specializing in brain injuries, is part of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Assisted Living for Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury Pilot Program. Marketing specialist Lynn Tomaio said Bancroft has four sites in New Jersey and can provide services for veterans who are struggling in a home setting. The veterans would first be evaluated by the VA but would then receive services from Bancroft.
She said Bancroft also hires veterans — ranging from drivers to neuropsychologists — who can relate to other veterans’ experiences.
Veterans advocate Lou Green, of Mays Landing, had a table full of brochures and contact information for veterans of all ages. Nancy Fielder of Stockton’s VetTeach program took the names of a few veterans interested in becoming teachers.
David Pang, 23, of Egg Harbor Township, is still in the Air National Guard and won’t graduate from Stockton with his degree in business management until May. But he attended to see what options might be available to him in the future, handing out copies of his resume.
“I’m hoping to get a job that links to my major,” he said after talking with Keith Galletta from Broadley’s Mechanical Contracting in Somers Point. Emil Martinelli, special project administrator for Broadley’s, is a retired veteran and said he was pleased with the response at the event, which netted him about 10 resumes for potential employees. The company is looking for an estimator, project manager and junior accountant.
“We were just saying that this was a good thing to do,” he said. “We want people who can take responsibility and lead. We can groom them and put them right to work.”
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