Hiring Our Heroes – US Chamber of Commerce

US Chamber of Commerce, March 2011

In March 2011, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched Hiring Our Heroes, a nationwide effort to help veterans and their spouses find meaningful employment.

The Chamber started the program in partnership with the Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) to improve public-private sector coordination in local communities, where veterans and their families are returning every day. Working with our extensive network of state and local chambers, VETS, the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), and other strategic partners, the Hiring Our Heroes program matches veteran talent with career opportunities in the private sector.

The Hiring Our Heroes program has four pillars:

(1)100 hiring fairs for veterans and their families in local communities across

the country,

(2) Wounded Warrior Transition Assistance Program,

(3) Student Veterans Internship and Employment Program, and…

(4) Women Veteran and Military Spouse Employment Program.

The U.S. Chamber will host two of our biggest and best hiring fairs over the next two months. On June 23, the Chamber will work with the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce and Veterans on Wall Street to host a hiring fair for 150 employers and 1,500 veterans at the USS Intrepid in New York City. On July 10th the U.S. Chamber will be joined by Their Royal Highnesses Prince William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, at Hiring our Heroes Los Angeles. The Chamber’s largest hiring fair will be held at Sony Pictures Studios in Los Angeles and will connect 1,500 veterans and their spouses with 200 employers from across the state. During the next year we plan to host 125 events in all of our hiring programs.

Hiring Our Heroes jobs for America’s veterans and military spouses. We are committed to this important mission

100 Hiring Fairs

In the next 12 months, the Chamber will host 100 hiring fairs with local chambers of commerce across the country. The first of these hiring fairs took place in Chicago on March 24, 2011, and was a huge success with 127 employers and 1,200 veterans and their spouses participating. Initial feedback from the employers indicates that more than 150 of the attendees are likely to get jobs. We have also created a system to track job placements for veterans and their spouses—an area where our nation has fallen woefully short in the past.

Establish support systems to drive success at 100 hiring fairs

The Chamber has enlisted highlevel public and private sector speakers to keynote our hiring fair events. To gain traction in local communities, we have also launched an aggressive media and PR campaign, which has earned the attention of news outlets across the country, including USA TodayNational Journal, Reuters, and McClatchy. NBC Universal has also agreed to cover all 100 hiring fairs utilizing their 212 local affiliate stations and to promote Hiring Our Heroeson a nationally broadcast program. The Hiring Our Heroes program has also been highlighted in several media outlets as part of Joining Forces, a campaign backed by First Lady Michelle Obama to educate, employ, and mentor U.S. service members and their families. Mrs. Obama is scheduled to participate in an announcement of DoD’s Military Spouse Employer Partnership at the U.S. Chamber on June 29, 2011.

Wounded Warriors

Prepare wounded warriors for employment opportunities

As part of Hiring Our Heroes, we have a Wounded Warriors Transition Assistance Program. We aim to host 15 Wounded Warrior Transition Workshops and Career Opportunity Days (COD) nationwide with the potential to scale to 100 in 2012. Our goal is to build a Wounded Warrior pipeline that directly connects these talented young men and women, who have honorably served our country, with companies dedicated to their successful transition to employment within the private sector. This program is tailored to meet the unique challenges and demands for wounded warriors, spouses, and caregivers. will work with partners to help employ women veterans and militaryhas an aggressive agenda with the only measure of success being CODs provide wounded, ill, and injured troops and their spouses with an opportunity to conduct mock interviews and network with prospective employers in a more intimate environment than traditional career fairs. CODs give both prospective employers and Wounded Warriors opportunities to interact one-on-one. We have established this format because wounded, ill, and injured service members are often overwhelmed by the magnitude of career fairs and choose not to participate, resulting in resulting in lost opportunities for these veterans and employers alike. CODs are limited to about 20 dedicated employers and 100 Wounded Warriors who are transitioning to a civilian career. Employers are connected directly with about 7 to 10 troops based on a mutual interest in either the employer’s industry or the Wounded Warrior’s military background. Employers conduct mock interviews with

We are also working with the DoD to establish a private sector internship and mentor program for America’s Wounded Warriors before they leave active duty and become veterans.

the Wounded Warriors and participate in a networking reception immediately following this half-day event—providing yet another one-on-one opportunity to get to know one another in a low-stress environment. The Wounded Warrior program is designed to create personalized, small group settings that lead to significantly more job placements for Wounded Warriors.

The Wounded Warrior Transition Assistance Program has established partnerships with the USO, Hire Heroes USA, and DoD Wounded Warrior Transition Units, and we are aiming to reach 2,000 Wounded Warriors through our Career Opportunity Days. We have also established relationships with key companies that understand the needs of Wounded Warriors and the unique challenges they face when transitioning to the private sector.

Student Veterans

As part of Hiring Our Heroes, we have a taken on the challenge of helping our nation’s youngest generation of veterans who are suffering from exceptionally high rates of unemployment. Post- 9/11 veterans had an average unemployment rate of 11.5% in 2010, while 27% of veterans between the ages of 18 and 24 are without jobs. The Chamber and Student Veterans of America (SVA) are partnering on several new initiatives to enhance the ability of student veterans to find meaningful employment in the private sector upon graduation. The Chamber and SVA Jobs and Internship Program was launched on June 1, 2011, at more than 300 SVA chapters and is available to 40,000 student veterans seeking internships and job opportunities across the nation.

The Chamber and SVA will cohost

For student veterans who are now pursuing a college degree, we will connect them with employers during their undergraduate years. Internships prepare student veterans for a rewarding second career after graduation. For employers, internships provide opportunities to evaluate potential candidates and retain quality talent at minimal cost. Conduct tailored hiring fairs to connect student veterans with jobs

two world-class hiring fairs over the next 12 months. The first will be in December 2011 at the SVA National Conference in Las Vegas, and will be attended by student veterans from across America. The second will be in early 2012 at SVA’s Annual Leadership Summit. During the second half of 2012, the Chamber and SVA will expand the program to include five additional hiring fairs to assist thousands of student veterans seeking employment regionally.

Build campus recruitment programs & establish a nationwide internship program for student veterans

The Chamber and SVA’s Jobs and Internship Program will reach 10,000 student veterans over the next year. The Chamber and SVA will work with companies that already have existing campus recruiting efforts and will provide direct introductions to local chapter leadership and access to a proprietary resume database. Additionally, if there are several companies interested in specific universities, the Chamber and

SVA will work together to pool student veterans and their spouses for mini-hiring fairs or networking events to enhance the experience for the employers and prospective employees.

Women Veterans and Military Spouses

Hiring Our Heroes spouses. This includes collaborating with the White House on its Joining Forces initiative and by connecting the business community with DoD on nationwide efforts to employ active duty spouses in the private sector. Through our network of American Chambers of Commerce abroad and global companies, we hope to place military spouses in jobs overseas. While women veterans and military spouses will be the beneficiaries of many of the programs in Hiring Our Heroes, we will host tailored events and champion specific forums to address challenges in finding employment. Working with the DoD’s Military Spouse Employer Partnership and Business and Professional Women’s Foundation, our goal is to increase women veterans’ and military spouses’ employment by enlisting 10,000 women mentors in the business community to connect with women veterans and military wives by the end of 2012.

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