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Job fair helps combat veteran unemployment rate

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The unemployment rate for veterans in Texas is higher than it is for civilians. Efforts are underway to change those numbers for soldiers and their families.

It's hard for soldiers who return from abroad to make the transition into civilian life and as we found out it also takes a toll on their caretakers.

Careylyn Ryan is one a one-woman mission Thursday to find a job at the Hiring Red, White and You Statewide Job Fair aimed at getting veterans back into the workplace. She has never served in the military. Her service to her country has been right here at home, taking care of her husband, Army Specialist Michael Ryan.

FOX 7 met the Ryans in May when they moved into this new home, a donation from a builder to a wounded veteran.

In 2009 while serving in Iraq, Michael sustained a traumatic brain injury during an attack. It's why Careylyn has been out of the workforce for two years and now she's ready to jump right back in.

"My husband's actually at a point where I'm able to leave him at home for several hours either unattended or with neighbors coming by to visit him and I'm able to now branch out and be a wife and an employee," said Careylyn.

She is a Texas A&M graduate with a business degree.

"I was interested in a position for assistant general manager," she said.

Workforce Solutions says there are 2,000 positions posted for the job fair and there are 28 other job fairs just like this one throughout Texas. The goal is to help lower the state's unemployment rate for veterans, which looms about 2 percentage points higher than the civilian rate.

"It's allowing me to speak to employees and be able to shine and show what I've learned my history as an employee and be able to hone in on my exact skills," Careylyn said.

It's not what she's used to she says, being the lone breadwinner for her family, but it's also not something she thought about twice, supporting her husband after he served his country.

"It is kind of a role reversal different from what I've been raised and thought of, but you know what I need to support my family, he's my better half and I need to help get my family to where I need to be and if that means that I need to be out hitting the ground and getting a job then that's exactly what I want to do," she said.

With a "can do attitude" she went from booth to booth. A countless number of handshakes later, dozens of resumes distributed and 12 solid job possibilities, she says it's been a good day for both her and her husband.

"I was really hoping that when I came today I'd have a good feeling about and so far I do," she said.

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