• Paychecks for Patriots draws large crowd at Jacksonville hiring event

    By: Lorena Inclan , Action News Jax


    Dressed in business suits with resumes in hand, job seekers packed Florida State College at Jacksonville’s downtown campus for a chance to land a position.

    Among the potential candidates were veterans like Darius Vergara.

    “This is probably one of the best fairs that I’ve been to. CareerSource and FSCJ actually did a great job,” said Vergara.

    Action News Jax first introduced you to Vergara last month after he graduated from Operation New Uniform, an organization that helped him gain the skills he needed to stand out.

    “Now I’m more prepared, more confident and I’m getting some leads,” said Vergara.

    Vergara attended the sixth annual Paychecks for Patriots at FSCJ Thursday, a statewide event for veterans and military families.

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    Deryl Jones is also an ONU graduate and Paychecks for Patriots attendee.

    He already has job offers.

    “I’m just excited about the fact that things have kind of turned around for me,” said Jones.

    You’ve heard it before: It’s not about what you know, but who you know. For many veterans who are transitioning to civilian life, building a network can be difficult when they get back home. 

    ONU and Paychecks for Patriots help bridge that gap.

    Director of Veterans Programs for CareerSource Northeast Florida Cynthia Owens said they’re also going beyond helping veterans with work.

    “We have a wide array of resources to connect veterans with things of that nature like housing, employment, resume writing,” said Owens.

    FSCJ served as the backdrop for Thursday’s career fair, which featured 90 different companies.

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    The campus also caters to veterans through its Military Veterans Center. 

    While the resources are available, Vergara points out it’s really all about how badly you want it.

    “Stay motivated. It’s there, but you’re going to have to get off the couch and really be motivated and go out there,” Vergara said.

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