What It Means to Hire Our Heroes
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May 22, 2012
As we approach Memorial Day, it seems a fitting time to reflect on how much Hiring Our Heroes has grown since we launched it just 14 months ago. Back then there were just a handful of us working on the program. Fast forward to today – we now have a staff of more than 20 and we’re practicing what we preach with a team full of veterans and spouses. These talented men and women are a testament to why companies should hire those who have served our nation and have sacrificed so much to protect our freedoms. Together our impact across America continues to grow and individually, each of them has a story to tell.
So I hope you will join us every Tuesday on Facebook as we highlight a member of our team and what it means to them to be a part of this movement, starting with my own.
As a 20-year Marine veteran, I am proud to lead Hiring Our Heroes. Before I retired in 2009, I served as the head of enlisted assignments for the Marine Corps and interviewed thousands of young men and women about their reenlistment decisions.
Three out of four Marines leave after their initial term of service. Most are under the age of 24, and they are entering the job market for the first time. For the vast majority of them, the overriding consideration in their decision-making process is where they are going instead of what they are going to do next. As a result, many of them make a decision of the heart and return to local communities where they have a support network rather than going to where the jobs are.
Hiring Our Heroes was founded on the premise that, in order to cut unemployment for veterans and military spouses, we must drive actions in local communities where hiring decisions are made and where military families are returning every day. Our goal from the outset was to create a movement across America by leading a massive, public-private sector, coordinated, grassroots campaign to help veterans and military spouses find meaningful careers in hundred of cities.
I believe we are on the verge of creating such a movement. Since we launched Hiring Our Heroes in March 2011 we have conducted more than 170 hiring fairs in 48 states. Nearly 10,000 veterans and military spouses have gotten jobs. And with another 330 planned in the next 10 months, we are just getting started.
For me, being a part of Hiring Our Heroes is not a job, it is a calling. I jump out of bed knowing we are making a difference in the lives of dozens of military families each day. At times I’ve wanted to quit, but inevitably when those thoughts crossed my mind, a veteran or military spouse who got a job at one of our hiring fairs would tell me how our program changed their life.
I am also driven by our incredibly talented and growing team of veterans and military spouses who, in just over a year, have made Hiring Our Heroes the largest scale effort of its kind. They are living, breathing examples of why companies should hire those who have served our country.
They are selfless and tireless, dedicated and dependable, and above all, they are passionate about our mission. Over the course of the next several weeks I’ve asked each of them to share their stories and describe why Hiring Our Heroes is important to them personally.
Please join us every Tuesday on Facebook for our “Tuesday Team Testimonial” series to meet the HOH team.