Award-winning broadcaster Geraldo Rivera is teaming up with local South Florida radio station WFTL to honor the Sept. 11 anniversary in a positive way: finding jobs for military vets, law enforcement and others looking for work.
"A lot of self-worth has to do with what you do for a living," Rivera tells Newsmax about his hosting of the "Putting America Back to Work" job fair this Wednesday.
"We want to let these men and women know that the experience they have is a valuable experience. Their organizational skills, discipline, chain of command, reliability, honor and character -- those are truly valuable assets that have a monetary value," Rivera said. "They can easily be translated to the private sector."
Rivera is teaming with talk radio station 850 WFTL that broadcasts in South Florida from Miami to Palm Beach for the free event held at the Sheraton Suites in Plantation, Fla. from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday.
There, 36 employers will be onsite to visit with aspiring applicants, says WFTL station manager Steve Lapa. The employers will be offering about 5,000 jobs.
Lapa's station hosted a job fair last year called "Hire a Hero," while Rivera had hosted his own previous job fairs in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas.
Teaming up to host a joint job fair seemed like the natural thing to do, said Lapa, whose station carries Rivera's syndicated radio show from 9 a.m. to noon each day.
"Conceptually we were on the same page," Lapa said of their mutual interests. "These are employers ready to hire."
Interview rooms will be set up so prospective applicants can have one-on-one time with employers. One area will be for vets, military and former law enforcement. Another is specifically for Florida residents.
WFTL will broadcast for 9 hours at the event, hosting Rivera in his usual spot, followed by the popular "Joyce Kaufman Show."
"If you want to change careers, or you need a job, you got to be there," Lapa says. "We're trying to give 9/11 a different dimension. We really want a show of strength. Our whole philosophy as a local radio station is that jobs are the engine that fuels everything. If you've got a good job and you're working, you can fulfill your dreams."
Rivera says he has spent considerable time in the battlefield trenches, reporting from Iraq and Afghanistan and getting to know the troops firsthand.
Not only have they warmed his heart with their service, but he sees their determination and skill set, and knows it can be valuable when they return back home to civilian life.
Often, however, many return home traumatized, some with PTSD, making the struggle for meaningful work after a military life that much harder on soldiers and their families.
Rivera says it is important that he and others step up to make sure they are not forgotten.
"One thing in this we want them to know is that we love them," Rivera says. "We want to reach out and say, 'You are loved here and you mean something to us.'"
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reported in June that the unemployment rate declined for all veterans.
Citing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate nationally for all vets was 6.3 percent, down from 6.6 percent in May and below the national average then of 7.6 percent. Unemployment rates for post-9/11veterans was slightly higher at 7.2 percent, down from 7.3 percent in June.
Employers participating in the job fair are all quality businesses, Rivera adds. They include representatives from the marine industry, Anheuser-Busch, Walmart, Royal Caribbean International, Newsmax Media and the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, among many others, offering full-time and part-time work.
Rivera said he was pleased by the outpouring of support from those companies in appreciating the value veterans bring to the work place.
"To those sponsors, we want to say you are to be congratulated for understanding that these are the cream of the crop, the best of the best," he said. "These are people who are not only patriotic, but highly competent, trained and honorable."
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