Thursday, July 19 , 2018, 11:30 am | Partly Cloudy 73º


Tom Donohue: After Just Two Years, More Than 100,000 Heroes Hired

Just two years ago this month, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched Hiring Our Heroes (HOH), a program to help transitioning military personnel, veterans and spouses find meaningful employment in the private sector. Today, the program has helped tens of thousands of men and women who have served their country find jobs through hundreds of hiring fairs and a major campaign to engage the business community in the mission.

It hasn’t been a hard sell. Hiring these heroes isn’t just the right thing to do — it’s the smart thing.

Not only have their toughness and talent been tested in service and on the battlefield, they’ve been equipped with world-class training. Likewise, military spouses have unique skills, including adaptability, dedication and resilience.

If the numbers are any indicator, U.S. companies recognize the extraordinary value military personnel and spouses can bring to their workforces. Last year, HOH partnered with Capital One and launched a campaign to secure commitments from companies to hire 500,000 heroes by the end of 2014. One year into the effort, 933 businesses have pledged to hire 212,107 veterans and spouses — and 108,000 heroes have already found jobs through the campaign. HOH has also brought together job candidates and companies at more than 450 hiring fairs in all 50 states and D.C., resulting in jobs for 18,400 veterans and spouses.

Today, we are moving the mission forward by building new programs to address some of the systemic drivers of veterans’ unemployment.

One of the biggest obstacles is showing how military service transfers to civilian work. To address this challenge, HOH, Toyota and Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Dakota Meyer recently unveiled an online Personal Branding Resume Engine. This first-of-its-kind tool enables veterans and transitioning service members to input details on their deployments, specialties, awards and duties. Their military career history is then translated into “civilian-speak” in the form of a fully formatted resume.

HOH is also teaming up with Spike TV to host a competition in search of the most veteran-friendly small business in America. The Military Spouse Employment Program is launching a business council to engage the private sector in addressing challenges spouses face. And we will soon offer employment workshops at all of our jobs fairs.

As HOH enters its third year, don’t expect us to sit back and celebrate our successes or count our milestones. Our nation is indebted to the men and women who have served and sacrificed for us — ensuring civilian career opportunities await them is one important way we can show our gratitude.

— Tom Donohue is president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The opinions expressed are his own.

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