Mayor Peter Carlisle proclaimed Wednesday "Hire Our Heroes Day" in support of a nationwide initiative to hire veterans and military spouses.
Nationally, the unemployment rate dropped to 8.5 percent in December, which is the lowest it's been since March 2009. Those figures are also lower than the veterans' unemployment rate at 12 percent.
Sgt. Jason Tolbert was in the U.S. Army for seven years and has been looking for work for more than a year. Tolbert said he needs to update his technical skills.
"Since I've been in the military, all the technology that's come about we didn't have before I came in. Now you have to be certified in different programs," Tolbert said.
The Universal Technical Institute was among 125 businesses and organizations at Wednesday's fair. The educational institute said a lot of veterans enter its instructional program before re-entering the workforce.
"Because they're (veterans), more hands-on they want to go into vocational trade. The good thing about going into automotive and diesel is, it's everywhere. You can work on cars and work on equipment," representative Jason Tagal said.
The hiring our heroes initiative urges employers to transition returning soldiers into the civilian workforce. Many employers at Wednesday's job fair support the effort.
The New York Life Insurance booth attracted both civilians and veterans at the fair. The Hawaii branch recruiting coordinator said the company is in the process of hiring several veterans who applied at a previous job fair.
"We're really looking forward to expanding into military and bringing more of them into the New York Life ohana, New York Life Recruiting Coordinator Jody Hagens said.
As Hawaii's veterans scan the job market, hundreds of competitive civilians stand alongside them, trying to land the same job.
"I see there's a lot of people here, so everybody needs a job and we're just trying to sell ourselves," Tolbert said.