HOUSTON - They stalk job sites, dreaming of opportunities and potential income -- but we re not talking about people who are out of work.

A group of employers is turning to military veterans, hoping to staff hard-to-fill positions.

For Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railroad, finding reliability starts with recruiters like John Wesley.

He s good, said Tom Carter, who met Wesley at a job fair Thursday. He s full of energy.

(Wesley) is selling the railroad, said Ken Saunders, who also met Wesley at the job fair. He s selling jobs. He s saying just apply and you can get a job at the railroad.

Thursday, Wesley and recruiters from several Houston-area companies targeted a special breed.  All took part in the Hire Our Heroes job opportunity expo at Minute Maid Park. For five hours, they took applications from military veterans.

Some employers said veterans are the best candidates for some jobs that are hard to fill.

They have solid training background, said Avery King, lead recruiter for Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), which runs three hospitals in Houston.

They re very dedicated. They follow regulations and rules very well, King said.

More than that, a new federal law offers employers between $2,400 and $9,600 to hire unemployed military veterans. At HCA, which has over 7,000 openings, King said the incentive matters.

It does help when you look at some additional training to bring someone on, some additional costs that may be associated with that, King said. But, we re willing to invest.

Other companies agree the incentive is nice. However, they said it is not the main reason they re looking for veterans.

We really appreciate what they ve done for us, King said. So we want to do what we can to help them out.

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