Hiring Our Heroes: 100 Fairs And Counting
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Today in Philadelphia, the Chamber‘s Hiring Our Heroes program will host its 100th hiring fair nationwide, a milestone achievement for a program that began less than a year ago.
“We began this program with the mission of creating a movement and 100 communities later, we have proof that our sustained campaign is starting to take hold,” said Lt. Col.(Ret.) Kevin Schmiegel, founder and executive director of the Chamber’s Hiring Our Heroes program, and a 20-year Marine veteran. “We won’t be satisfied until we move the needle on the staggering rates of unemployment facing post 9-11 veterans and military spouses.”
The need for such a program couldn’t be stronger. As our men and women in uniform return home from Afghanistan and Iraq, many will be entering the civilian workforce for the first time. Nationwide, 1 million veterans are out of work and a staggering 30% of young veterans under the age of 24 are unemployed.
But the case for hiring veterans is a strong one. "Employers, from the start, know they're dealing with disciplined individuals who have proved their work ethic and commitment through their service." Schmiegel explains in a Politico op-ed. "They've gone through extensive technical training and sharpened their skills in harsh conditions and challenging environments."
Since the launch of our program in March 2011, the Chamber has hosted 100 hiring fairs in 45 states and the District of Columbia. Thus far, the Chamber hiring fairs have connected more than 95,000 veterans and military spouses with over 4,800 different employers. And momentum continues to grow: this year the Chamber hopes to host hiring fairs in 400 communities, establish a stand-alone program specifically for military spouses, and enlist the commitments of hundreds of thousands of small businesses to hire veterans and military spouses by the end of 2014.
One veteran helped by the Hiring Our Heroes program, WIlliam Jones, was able to find a job after searching for over 9 months and attending countless other fairs. He is just one of the more than 8,000 veterans and military spouses to find employment through Hiring Our Heroes to date.
Click here to learn more about the Hiring Our Heroes program, and to find a job fair near you.
UPDATE: Check out some photos from the event: