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Vets attend job fair on the USS Intrepid

Steven Davila of Brooklyn, a SFC in the

Steven Davila of Brooklyn, a SFC in the Army Reserves, works with resume consultant Carol McDermott, part of an area sponsored by General Electric at a Veteran's Job Fair hosted by the Mayor's Office of Veterans affairs on board the USS Intrepid Air and Space museum. (March 28, 2012) Credit: Craig Ruttle

After 11 years in the Army Reserve -- which included three tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan -- Sgt. 1st Class Hilton Rolle needs a job.

"I've been in combat. I have been shot at and right now I have to pay the bills," Rolle, 38, of Hempstead, said. "It's difficult -- there's no question about it," Rolle said. The father of two has been looking for work since January, when he returned home.

Rolle was among several thousand unemployed veterans who descended on the USS Intrepid in Manhattan Wednesday in search of a job -- or at least an interview -- with one of the 100 private and government employers who say they have jobs for veterans.

As of last June, 1 million veterans -- or 13.3 percent -- were unemployed, according to the White House website.

"The military is cutting back, so it's hard to get a job there, and here at home I see employers hesitant when they see my master's degree in criminal justice. They only want to pay you $40,000," Rolle said.

Rolle, who was housekeeping manager at the New York Hilton in Manhattan, had to leave his job when called to duty in 2003, 2005 and 2009.

"I gave up my job," he said, adding that in 2009 the Army gave him a job training soldiers for combat at Fort Dix, N.J., and later at Camp Atterbury in Indiana. Rolle is still an Army reservist.

"I'm a good candidate for investigations and leadership," Rolle said. He will apply for jobs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, New York City corrections, and the U.S. Border Patrol.

"I really want to do a job that I am interested in and would thrive in," Rolle said.

Job openings offered at the fair included security, maintenance, sales, finance, construction, electrical installation, warehousing, heavy machine operators, and computer IT.

Army veteran Yulanda Grootfaam, 28, of Brooklyn, who served one year in Iraq in 2007 and then did two years in the National Guard, was looking for an administrative office job.

Grootfaam said her passion is new computer software systems.

"But the employers don't seem to appreciate the systems we use in the military. It's hard to understand. If we can survive war and come home, there should be a job here for us."

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