Dallas job fair held to help military members, spouses

Balancing military life and civilian life has many challenges, including finding a new job.

That can be difficult for both veterans and their families. That's where a popular job fair fills the gap.

The military job fair was poignant given that military spouses are among the highest percentage unemployed groups in the country. Reservists and transitioning military members are also challenged with finding opportunities as well.

Ashley Jennings is on the hunt for a career change. She's eyeing corporate opportunities in technology. But it can be hard to make that change because of her other ‘career.’ It involves fatigues one weekend a month. She specializes in human resources as a proud U.S. Army reservist. 

"It is a little tougher because even as a reservist we can be called out to deploy, especially with the two weeks out of the year,” she said. “I have children, so that can be tough as well. Finding child care and things like that."

Like Jennings, Margarita Perez has a challenging circumstance. She's a school teacher and married to retired master sergeant Israel Perez.

"A lot of the employers are hesitant because they know you're not going to be there very long,” Perez said.

The two are now settled in the metroplex, but international assignments and relocation have been commonplace.

“I'm looking for something a change from education since I've done all my life education,” Perez said. “Something more in administrative or clerical type of job."

Perez is among 600,000 military spouses throughout the country who are currently unemployed or underemployed. She and Jennings see the military family job fair as a smart tool for helping turn those numbers around.

"I feel like we're connecting to the right people such as recruiters,” Jennings said.

There were about 95 employers at the job fair. Many recruiters were hiring on the spot.