"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'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.
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."