DANVILLE, Va. -

Richard Phelps is determined to find work. He's looking for a new career and getting help from Averett University in Danville.

Life for him changed after taking a leave from his job to spend eight years active duty for the Army, and nine years in the National Guard including a brief deployment to Iraq.

"It was a little weird. The company I worked for went though some changes while I had been away so I wasn't part of those changes," Phelps said.

After losing his job he decided to go back to school. He's set to graduate next month.
It's an adjustment that's been a challenge.

"I'm looking for something local. It's kind of hard to come by, you know, especially with a degree or a masters degree. Those jobs are few and far between here in Danville," Phelps said.

Phelps is one of many veterans who handed out resumes to the 38 employers there that had dozens of positions open.

"We want our individuals to stay in our community. So why not do a job fair for our community? These are all employers who are in the surrounding, if it's Halifax to Martinsville," said Heather Merchant, director of partnership development at Averett. "A lot of our community don't realize that these employers are hiring."

Although the job hunt can be discouraging, veterans like Lewis Patrick tried to stay positive.

"It's a difficult task, trying to find a job, especially in this area," Patrick said.

Today he applied for three positions that required previous work experience in that particular field. With a career in the military, he's hoping to get that experience from a company at the job fair.