The University of Texas at Arlington’s Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) hosted an online job fair for Ukrainian veterans that could help them find gainful employment.
The job fair was patterned after VBOC’s annual Business Beyond the Battlefield conference, a virtual event that will be held Oct. 6-8 this year. More than 120 Ukrainian veterans attended.
Edmund Prater, UTA professor in the Department of Information Systems and Operations Management and VBOC executive director, said the event was well-received. VBOC is planning to stage job fairs for veterans from other countries, Prater said.
The VBOC is funded by a $1.8 million multi-year grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration. VBOC supports veterans in starting businesses and teaches entrepreneurship to active-duty military personnel on military bases in north Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma.
The event gave veterans an opportunity to participate in mock interviews. During that portion of the job fair, five human resource specialists from different fields and companies conducted 10 hours of live interviews, provided feedback and offered career consultations for all veterans who applied for this opportunity.
Patrick Alcorn, VBOC director and U.S. Army veteran, said the Ukrainian veterans embraced the idea of the conference just like U.S. veterans do. The goal for veterans in the Ukraine as well as the United State is the same, he said: to explore the diverse possibilities offered through professional development.
The Ukraine job fair led to contact with the director of Ukraine’s World Trade Center.
“We are currently in talks with the director to provide support, training and education for their group,” Alcorn said.
The job fair comes during Prater’s Jefferson Science Fellowship from the National Academy of Sciences. Prater was one of 12 recipients nationwide. During the 2020-21 school year, Prater worked in Washington, D.C., for the U.S. State Department in the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs. After the year on-site, Prater will continue to work and consult for the State Department for five years.
Serhiy Tenitskyy, one of the attendees, said veterans have the opportunity to explore diverse careers.
“I did not look for an easy way out. I went into a completely new field,” Tenitskyy said. “Now, I am an IT project manager. You have to believe in yourself and your abilities.”