Ill. firm reaches out to veterans to fill job vacancies

By CHRIS LUSVARDI | The (Decatur, Ill.) Herald & Review | Published: December 13, 2013

DECATUR, Ill. — Veterans and active duty military personnel had the opportunity Thursday to see if a job with Decatur’s largest employer could be the right fit for them.

Several agencies worked together to hold a job fair at the Illinois National Guard Armory in Decatur focused on seeking qualified candidates for a range of positions with Archer Daniels Midland Co.

The goal was to match service members with jobs, said Lt. Col. Tim Franklin, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, or ESGR, program coordinator.

“At the end of the day, that’s what this is all about,” Franklin said. “We thought it would work with the size of ADM and the positions they have.”

Veterans can face challenges finding employment in the private sector, but Franklin said through their experience, they bring more than the actual skills needed to perform the jobs. Among those are qualities such as leadership, teamwork and discipline, Franklin said.

The company is seeking to increase its outreach to military and veterans, said Dean Espenschied, ADM employee and labor relations representative.

“They bring attributes we know will be a good fit,” Espenschied said. “This is a way of reaching out and bringing them in.”

Job seekers could meet with hiring managers and current ADM employees about the possibility of working for the company in positions such as truck drivers, maintenance workers and laborers. They find the process leads to the start of a career with the company, not just a job, Espenschied said.

With the application process done online, Espenschied said holding an event was a chance to answer questions applicants might have about the company.

“It’s a global company with a chance to make a vital difference,” Espenschied said. “We have a strong safety culture. That means a lot to people who want to come to work for us.”

The focus was on filling positions based out of Decatur, Espenschied said.

Attendees could get started with the application process or meet with representatives from Richland Community College or Workforce Investment Solutions to develop a plan to seek the necessary qualifications or training, Espenschied said.

Attendees already had gone through a prescreening process to better match them with potential positions, said Greg Rivara, Illinois Department of Employment Security director of information strategies. They have a chance to explain why they want to work in a particular job and why they would succeed in doing so, Rivara said.

“The process does turn a job fair into a hiring event,” Rivara said. “A layer of work has already been done. The foundation is built.”

Job fairs typically aren’t focused on one company, but Rivara this was a unique situation in which ADM has enough positions to fill to have such a focused event make sense.


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