Hiring Veterans is Right and Smart Thing to Do

Mar 12, 2012

Photo by Ian Wagreich / © U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Last Friday, Hiring Our Heroes held a jobs fair in Pittsburgh. Local public radio station WESA reports, "About 300 veterans attended the event and about 65 employers were there."

U.S. Chamber Chief Operating Officer David Chavern was at the fair, and in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he wrote about the importance of connecting unemployed veterans and their spouses with interested employers:

But chronically high unemployment has led to a chilly jobs market, and veterans and military spouses are suffering at an outsize rate. Nationwide, 1 million veterans are jobless and 1 of every 4 military spouses is without work.

Post-9/11 veterans are having the most difficulty, with younger veterans aged 18 to 24 facing a staggering 30 percent unemployment rate. Members of the National Guard and Reserve face an unemployment rate of 14 percent nationally.

Roughly 1 million men and women in uniform and their families will leave active duty over the next five years.

He goes on to write that finding work for unemployed veterans and their spouses is not only "the right thing to do," it's also good for business:

Veterans are attractive job candidates. Employers know they're dealing with disciplined individuals who have proven their work ethic and commitment through their service. They've gone through extensive technical training and have sharpened their skills in duty. Problem-solving is at the core of their skill set. They are able to lead and to work in a team environment, and are by necessity flexible and adaptive.

When you factor in the widening skills gap in America that veterans are uniquely positioned to fill, the case becomes even more compelling. Ninety percent of military occupations are directly transferable to the private sector.

Also last Friday, Ann Curry from NBC's Today show talked about what it's doing to get jobs for the 1 million unemployed veterans. The Today show is partnering with Hiring Our Heroes to hold a jobs fair at the U.S.S. Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum in New York City on March 28, and it's using its website to promote upcoming job fairs. 

Hiring Our Heroes was in New York City last summer for a successful jobs fair, and with help from great partners like NBC's Today show, Capital One, Monster/Military.com, NBC News, the Department of Labor Veterans' Employment and Training Services (DOL VETS), the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), the next one should be even better.

Hiring Our Heroes has held over 100 jobs fairs, and it has pledged to host 400 more in the program's second year. The need is great, and the men and women who have sacrificed so much for all of us deserve nothing less.

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