More Than a Job Fair: Hiring Our Heroes Offers Impactful Programs Prepare Veterans, Military Spouses for Future Employment

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Hiring Our Heroes

In 2019, Hiring Our Heroes expanded our schedule to connect more transitioning service members, veterans, and military spouses with meaningful career opportunities.

We grew our programs to hold 28 Career Summits, 52 hiring events, 12 Sport Expos, 17 military spouse hiring events, six military spouse symposia, 12 AMPLIFY Military Spouse Career Intensives, and two Community Engagement Events in 39 states, three countries, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C.

In total, we saw 14,914 job seekers and 3,490 employers in attendance at our events in 2019.

As the veteran and military spouse employment space evolves so do the programs and events provided by Hiring Our Heroes.

“We work to develop innovative and groundbreaking programs that not only help transitioning service members and military spouses find jobs, but more importantly, find long-term economic opportunities,” said Eric Eversole, vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and president of Hiring Our Heroes.

During the last year, Hiring Our Heroes evaluated our programs and identified more solutions for the unique challenges that today’s transitioning service members, veterans, and military spouses face in their career journeys. We enhanced our programs and events by focusing on professional training, fellowships, and community partnerships.

“We are constantly striving to find those meaningful and impactful programs and we’re going to continue to adjust our fire to best meet the needs of service members and military spouses,” Eversole said.

Here are a few of the highlights of how Hiring Our Heroes improved, expanded, and excelled in 2019.

More Corporate Fellowship Graduates

The Corporate Fellowship Program now includes more host companies, not just those located near military installations. This remote location option lead to 25% more service members graduating from the program in 2019, compared to 2018.

“The fellowships are incredibly impactful…we’re seeing a 92% hire rate and average annual salaries of nearly $90,000,” Eversole said.

We also launched the Military Spouse Fellowship Program at six sites: Fort Carson, Colorado; Honolulu, San Antonio, San Diego, Tampa, Florida; and the National Capital Region. This six-week paid internship is a cutting-edge initiative that provides military spouses with professional training, networking, and hands-on experience in the civilian workforce.

Professional Training at Career Summits

In 2019, our partners provided top-notch professional training at our two-day Career Summits.

“We are bringing in partners that are willing to invest in service members’ and military spouses’ long-term careers and letting these partners contribute to the training. That’s how we were able to expand our training in 2019,” Eversole said.

In addition to these augmentations to our existing events, Hiring Our Heroes continued to celebrate individuals, companies, local government officials, and nonprofit organizations that are helping us make a difference in military employment.

Celebrating a Shared Mission

In November 2019, the 9th annual Lee Anderson Hiring Our Heroes Awards Gala, presented by Toyota, returned to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hall of Flags with U.S. Navy Lt. (Ret.) Brad Snyder serving as the gala’s emcee. Snyder is a five-time Paralympic gold medalist with Team USA and became a Hiring Our Heroes Personal Branding Ambassador this year. The 2019 President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement was presented to Bonnie Amos, former first lady of the U.S. Marine Corps and Hiring Our Heroes and Toyota Personal Branding Ambassador.

Through a partnership with Student Veterans of America and Accenture, Hiring Our Heroes hosted “Pathways to Prosperity: Celebrating 75 Years of the GI Bill” in June. This half-day event examined the history and advancement of the GI Bill and its past, present, and future impact on the American business and veteran communities.

Also in June, military spouse employment stakeholders attended the third annual Military Spouse Employment Summit in Washington, D.C., while other members of the Hiring Our Heroes team celebrated the 100th Career Summit at Fort Gordon, Georgia.

We held the first annual Military Spouse Impact Awards at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hall of Flags. The Military Spouse Impact Awards recognize and celebrate the many accomplishments of the volunteers, community and business leaders, and military spouses who work tirelessly to increase economic opportunity for military spouses everywhere.

Sheila Casey was given the 2019 Impact Award for Lifetime Achievement. From her work as the spouse of the former Army Chief of Staff to her role as the chief operating officer of The Hill, Casey epitomizes the strength, courage, and determination it takes to be a career-minded military spouse.

During the Fort Gordon Career Summit, retired U.S. Army General John Campbell, 34th vice chief of staff, and his wife Ann announced their decision to become Hiring Our Heroes and Toyota Personal Branding Ambassadors.

Recently, retired U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Major Ron Green joined Hiring Our Heroes as a Personal Branding Ambassador. Green joined the Marine Corps in 1983 and became the 18th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps in 2015.

Military Spouses as a Talent Source

Second Lady of the United States Karen Pence showed her support for military spouse employment by attending the one-year anniversary of the first Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zone (MSEEZ) launch hosted by USAA in San Antonio in March and the MSEEZ Designation Ceremony for the state of Texas at the Texas State Capitol in Austin in October. The statewide Texas MSEEZ is building on the success that military spouse employment programs have had in San Antonio and El Paso.

“Military spouses are well-educated, hardworking, flexible, reliable, and loyal. They are the kind of workers we want in the workforce. Employers who hire military spouses benefit from their tremendous talent and breadth of experience,” Pence said at the MSEEZ designation ceremony.

Hiring Our Heroes launched 12 new MSEEZ locations in 2019. In total, six statewide and 15 regional MSEEZ hosted more than 50 working group meetings aimed at creating grassroots solutions to hire, train, and advocate for military spouses throughout the year.

The Hiring Our Heroes’ Hiring 100,000 Military Spouses campaign is halfway to its goal. Companies and businesses, of all sizes from across America, have come together to commit to hire 50,000 military spouses.

“We’re seeing a lot of companies focus on military spouses as a talent source and we are going to see that number grow,” Eversole said.

Other 2019 Highlights

  • More than two dozen companies and organizations representing more than six million American workers pledged to prioritize mental health and emotional wellbeing in the workplace.
  • A Career Summit was hosted for the first time aboard the historic USS Midway in San Diego.
  • Joseph Campbell, a U.S. Marine Corps and Army veteran, was named the 2019 Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence award winner.
  • The Military Spouse Professional Network conducted more than 230 professional development and networking events.
  • The third annual Stand To conference with Blackstone, Deloitte, and the George W. Bush Institute focused on discussing what skillset gaps might exist for future veterans.
  • A collaborative effort between Hiring Our Heroes and Grow with Google announced that we will work to identify specific challenges military spouses face participating in entrepreneurial endeavors; growing small businesses, participating in remote work; and reskilling to growth industries.
  • The first-ever national employment summit for military caregivers was held with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and AARP.
MEEZ HR Launch

In 2020, we will continue to fine-tune our programs and grow career opportunities for the military community.

“Not only are we helping people find jobs – we are helping them find the long-term meaningful careers they so richly deserve,” Eversole said.

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