LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Veterans in search of jobs had reason for hope Tuesday as Mayor Eric Garcetti announced major steps forward in his promise to get 10,000 veterans working.

Garcetti, a Navy veteran, was at a job fair Tuesday to announce that the initiative is halfway to its goal, having seen nearly 5,000 veterans hired in just over one year.

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“This is very important for me. This was important as a veteran for me, this was important as the grandson of a veteran who got his citizenship,” Garcetti said. “We’ve got to make sure we don’t just give a hug to a veteran, but we give them a job.”

Over 200 public and private employers joined Garcetti in the program to make sure veterans get hired.

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Garcetti also announced Tuesday that apprenticeships in the building trades will guarantee that 10 percent of those hires will be veterans.

The program has been described as being different from previous programs that had dragged the hiring process along slowly.

“It’s everything connected, you can find everything here,” veteran Vanessa Lopez said. “It’s a lot simpler.”

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The organization 211 LA County has teamed with the mayor’s program to make it easier for veterans to try to find jobs.