Columbia, SC (WLTX)- South Carolina's veteran unemployment is now at 4.4 percent, that's down from five years ago, when it was at 20 percent.

This now puts us among the best in the country for veteran employment. That's according to the Operation Palmetto Employment, or OPE, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Click here to learn more about OPE.

Thursday, both veterans and employers got together for an OPE summit where everyone learned the value of hiring a veteran.

It's an initiative lead by the Governor's office and made up by organizations across the country who work for veterans.

Elisa Edwards is a part of OPE she says they've touched about 23,000 veterans in our state.

From resume building, to networking and transferring into civilian life, she says they've already put 8,000 of those veterans back to work.

Charles Kearse is a recruiter with Verizon Wireless and an OPE Employer.

Last year, he says more than half of his hires were veterans and most have stayed in the job.

"It’s those skills that they learn in basic training" said Kearse.

"To be accountable, to take leadership, responsibility, to be humble, positive attitude a can-do attitude, to follow the chain of command" these are the things he says are not taught on a high school level.

If you missed the Summit on Thursday, there will be a job fair on May 25th at the Sumter County Civic Center on West Liberty Street.

The first 30 minutes of the job fair will be exclusively for veterans. There will be over 60 employers there.