PEORIA -- Finding a job in this economy can be a tough task for anyone, but it is especially difficult for military veterans returning home.
Seventy-eight businesses came out to the Peoria Civic Center to hire veterans and their spouses.
Peoria native Christopher Gibbs spent four years in the Marines and did a tour in Iraq. Although he is currently employed, he's hoping the Hiring Our Heroes job fair will give him a chance to move up the ladder.
Gibbs says it's important to him to stay near home. "I definitely do not want to lure away from my family and friends that I've been away from for so long. So essentially, it's like you do want to come back to your home soil, your home ground and especially your hometown."
Hiring Our Heroes was launched by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2011. The program is working to get veterans and spouses back in the workforce.
Event Associate Shaun Carter said getting veterans back in the swing of things isn't always easy. "It's really tough trying to reacclimate to the civilan workforce and a lot of times they have to compete amongst themselves returning from the military service and then they have to compete amongst the civilan population as well."
Gibbs said he's thankful the program is around to help his many military friends who are without work. "They're really struggling even to find entry-level jobs and for these companies to be here today at the veterans career fair and to be offering entry level positions, to be able to fill out applications today really helps them out."
Hiring Our Heroes has helped more than 10,000 veterans find jobs. The program expects to have about 400 fairs across the country this year.
More than 200 local veterans attended the fair.
For more information about the program, visit https://hoh.greatjob.net.