OR, UNITED STATES
SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - A clear July morning in the Willamette Valley brought new hope among unemployed veterans attending a career fair at the Eugene Armed Forces Reserve Center in Springfield, Ore., July 19.
The job fair featured a partnership between the U.S. Department of Labor’s Hiring Our Heroes (HOH) and a recently launched Hero2Hired (H2H) web-based program for veterans.
It was the first event in Oregon featuring the partnership. HOH is scheduled to organize approximately 400 events this year with 210 already completed. Of the 400 events nationwide, 40 are scheduled to be joint events with the H2H program founded by Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR).
According to retired Sgt. 1st Class Phil Maas, U.S. Chamber of Commerce associate for HOH northwest region, there were approximately 25 companies in attendance, including three vendors who had not registered for the event.
Those employers came to participate after hearing about the event on local news.
“An event like this requires really good partnerships,” Maas said. “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce brings a lot of credibility and clout.”
Maas said without the support of the Oregon Employment Department, local employers, local media, local veterans’ services and other organizations, an event like this simply isn’t possible.
“These programs bring a room full of military friendly employers who understand what these people bring to the table,” Maas said. “So many companies have developed positions specific to military personnel recruiting.”
H2H is a cutting edge program that uses modern technology and job fairs to link employers with qualified veterans, said retired Sgt. 1st Class, Craig Snitker, the program liaison for the Oregon National Guard Joint Transition Assistance Program (JTAP).
“H2H is new this year,” explained Snitker. “It’s just now getting out to the field.”
Snitker said ESGR also works with WorkSource Oregon and JTAP to hold Integrated Transition Assistance Program (ITAP) workshops. As the ITAP lead, Snitker has organized three-day events where veterans learn job-seeking skills, including resume writing and networking with businesses. The fact that the events are integrated with employers who participate makes them unique, Snitker said.
He said utilizing these events and the modern technology of H2H will provide the best available support for veterans seeking employment in Oregon.
“Job seekers can build a profile, post a resume and applications right from the site,” said Snitker. “Employers can search resumes by key word, zip code or city. It is streamlined for straighter job landing.”
In addition, the H2H site provides links to all of the tools that are at the ITAP events, such as writing a resume or a cover letter. Once registered, veterans can also apply from a mobile phone application.
Snitker said the anticipated outcome of events like the Springfield job fair is to assist anyone who has ever served in the military. It is a great tool for getting service members searching for jobs face-to-face with people that need and want assistance.
He said that H2H also helps veterans translate skills to a resume or interview.
There were more than 200 people at the Springfield event with more than 150 pre-registered to take advantage of the help being offered.
The Springfield event also included 10 veterans’ service organizations and three colleges.
“We use the Hiring Our Heroes program a lot,” said Tina McGee, campus manager for the Red Rock College of Construction, Oklahoma City.
“The character traits veterans have make them stand out above other potential candidates,” McGee said, referring to Red Rock College of Construction’s job placement the program.
An informal poll of job seekers at the event showed that veterans concur with McGee. The most common answer, when asked what they felt veterans bring to the job, was military values and character traits.
Maas said that he completely gets where job seekers are coming from and understands after being unemployed for a year prior to obtaining his current position.
“At six months the mindset changes,” said Maas, empathizing with job seekers who start to doubt themselves and their job skills. “There’s a lot more to you (military veterans), and employers need to know that.”
Maas said an example is how much responsibility a squad or team leader has accounting for personnel and equipment and how that translates to in financial responsibility.
“The goal of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is to see 500,000 veterans hired,” said Maas.
The plan of action for accomplishing this goal is centered on the 400 events they have planned.
Locally, HOH is organizing another job fair in Oregon scheduled November 13. The event will again partner with the H2H program. It will be held at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Ore. All veterans are invited to attend.
For more information about H2H contact Craig Snitker at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 503-584-2393, or the H2H website at https://h2h.jobs/.
This work, H2H gives veterans new tool for job search, by SPC James Dilger, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.