MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Grand Strand veteran organizations say they have many qualified candidates for businesses looking to hire.

More than 40,000 veterans live in Horry County, and another 15,000 live in Georgetown County. Many are unemployed, even homeless.

“Opportunity does exist, and I have to think a lot of our business community just doesn’t know, so that’s where we want to fill that gap,” Cindy Gettig, MBACC Vice President of Business Development, said.

The Grand Strand Military Officers Association of America’s (MOAA) goal is to find open positions businesses are looking to fill and what type of training or certifications are required for veterans to be competitive candidates.

Over the past year, veteran organizations like MOAA say they’ve invested time and resources into the veteran population. Now, they believe the outcome can provide a win-win for veterans in need of work and the business community.

Veteran groups are on a mission to find thousands of veterans employment while giving businesses in need of a hiring haul qualified applicants.

“Veterans are a disciplined workforce. A lot of them have a lot of experience in a lot of different fields, and this is always valuable to the employers,” MOAA Vice President/Outreach Truman Parmele said.

According to Grand Strand MOAA, veterans make up about 15% of the population in Horry County. Currently, one-third of veterans are unemployed.

“When we had the pandemic hit, we noticed our unemployment rate went into the 25-30% range almost overnight,” President of the Grand Strand Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America, Jim Albert, said.

Many Myrtle Beach businesses are short-staffed after the pandemic. As many start to rehire, veteran organizations remain focused on getting unemployed veterans training and education to qualify for these positions. The MBACC is helping bring everybody together to make connections.

“These veterans who have served our country, we need to make sure we are taking care of them as well, and this is an important part of it — feeling a sense of belonging, having a job, and especially again, where we are looking right now, the need is so great here along the Grand Strand,” MBACC Vice President of Business Development, Cindy Gettig said.

Veteran organizations are working on several initiatives to help veterans employed, including putting computer centers in three veteran housing locations so veterans can job search, build resumes, and seek other resources.

Veteran organizations are working with the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday to find jobs for unemployed veterans.

The webinar starts at 3:00 p.m. and is open to anyone in the Myrtle Beach area business community. Employers can enter questions for veteran groups and for the chamber to answer.

Click here for webinar details.