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      National Guard job fair builds relationships with community, while offering employment opportunities

      The Iowa National Guard partnered with IowaWORKS for a job fair at the Fairfield armory Thursday.
      The Iowa National Guard partnered with IowaWORKS to offer a job fair for soldiers, veterans and community members in southeast Iowa.

      Thursday's job fair was the first time in about five years an event like this has been held at the National Guard Armory in Fairfield. The armory is a community building, open to the public for events like Thursday's job fair, and also weddings and parties.

      Thursday's fair offered 19 local employers. The goal for the National Guard at an event like this one is not recruitment, but rather fostering partnerships with local employers. It is a helpful resource for veterans and also shows current National Guard soldiers that they can maintain both a civilian life and a soldier life.

      "We push it out to all our soldiers within the battalion of the Iowa National Guard and allow them to know about all the employers that are looking for new employees and go along with Home Base Iowa that can possibly get these soldiers some new jobs or better jobs," said Sergeant First Class Jesse Howard.

      Sergeant Travis Vanderhart, who manned the National Guard table on Thursday, is a perfect example of achieving success both as a soldier and a civilian. Sergeant Vanderhart began as an employee at Principal nine years ago. He's since worked his way up through the company to assistant manager. Sergeant Howard said building relationships with companies like the ones present Thursday offer every soldier those opportunities.

      However, the job fair wasn't only for soldiers and veterans, but community members too. If you missed this job fair, IowaWORKS has resources like workshops and classes to help residents find jobs. For more information, click here.