Sunday, August 19 , 2018, 8:39 pm | Fair 69º


Tom Donohue: Hiring Our Heroes Program Helping Veterans, Spouses Find Jobs

Local chambers of commerce are doing their part to contribute to the cause

This Memorial Day, about 1 million veterans were looking for jobs. The 11.5 percent unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans last year was well above the national average. And more than a quarter of the veterans ages 18 to 24 are without work.

What can be done for these valiant men and women who answered our nation’s call to duty? For its part, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched its Hiring Our Heroes program. It has two goals — better coordination of public- and private-sector efforts to help veterans and their spouses find jobs, and developing a network of mentors in the business community to help veterans transition to the civilian work force.

Over the next year, Hiring Our Heroes will work with local chambers of commerce, the administration, and the National Guard and Reserve to connect 100,000 veterans with more than 1,000 employers during 100 hiring fairs across the country. The first hiring fair took place in Chicago, bringing together more than 125 employers and 1,200 veterans and their spouses. About 150 of them will end up with new jobs.

We also have created strategic partnerships in three other areas to deal with specific populations of veterans and their unique challenges. They are a Wounded Warrior Transition Assistance Program, a Student Veterans Internship and Employment Program and a Women Veteran and Military Spouse Employment Program.

For this initiative to succeed, local communities must be the cornerstone of any national program to reduce veterans’ unemployment. The reason is simple: When veterans and their families are transitioning out of the military, their top priority is getting back to a local community. By targeting resources where we know veterans are and want to be, we can be that much more effective.

We also must look for innovative ways to assist transitioning veterans. This includes helping them launch a small business, providing vocational education and apprenticeships, improving and expediting certification and licensing, and enhancing the availability of internships and mentoring programs.

Why is the Chamber of Commerce devoting significant resources to helping veterans and their spouses find jobs? As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The time is always right to do what is right.” Beyond that, businesses of all sizes have an urgent need for skilled workers, even with our 9 percent unemployment rate. Veterans can help fill this skills gap with their unique leadership experience, technical expertise and problem-solving skills.

As we celebrate the heroic accomplishments and tremendous sacrifices made by our veterans, we must always remember that their contributions don’t end when they stop wearing the uniform. Click here to learn more.

— Tom Donohue is president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >