Turnout robust for Military Job Fair


The weather was perfect Saturday, March 9, for this year’s Military Job Fair, the first official event of the 2024 PLAYERS Championship. And the tent at Patriots’ Outpost was crowded with job applicants and prospective employers.

“It’s amazing,” said job fair chairman Bill Hickey. “I look around the room right now, and it is packed. We have not always had the weather cooperate with us, but it’s doing so today!”

This is the 13th year for the job fair, a project of the Jacksonville Military Veterans Coalition. As always, it attracted top employers, including law enforcement agencies, Morgan Stanley, Optum, Florida Blue, Comcast, JEA, CSX and more.

The first of the job fairs was held in March 2012, just two months after seven members of the newly founded coalition came up with the idea. Little did they realize then that their idea would become a signature event at THE PLAYERS.

Fortuitously, Cathie Hurlburt, the PGA Tour’s then-director of charitable outreach, was in the room when the seven members proposed a job fair. She mentioned that THE PLAYERS had a space they could use if they wanted. Almost immediately, Hickey was selected to spearhead the project.

Since then, thousands of veterans have availed themselves of the opportunity to seek employment at the event, and hundreds of employers have participated.

“We’ve had many, many people over the years come back the following year and say, ‘Hey, I was here last year, and now I work for one of the companies,’” said Hickey. “We’ve had companies come in and hire people on the spot — pending background checks and everything.”

Hickey recalled one year an organization hired 10 people all in the same day.

The secret of the job fair’s success may be in the quality of the job applicants. Their military experience grants them skills — including “soft” skills — that many employers prize.

“They’re adaptable; they’ve been through a bunch of training; they’ve been in high-pressure, dynamic situations without losing their cool,” said Hickey. “They know to show up on time, and they know to show up every day. They are taught to follow procedures, which helps especially in construction-type environments and law enforcement-type environments.”

The job fair is just the first of the military-related events at THE PLAYERS, which include Military Appreciation Day, Operation Shower and more.