It’s hard to believe, but by some estimates as many as 160,000 returning military veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq are unable to find jobs. Why wouldn’t employers want to hire former members of the military? Some worry that vets suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome; others can’t figure out how veterans’ experience in the military can translate to a civilian job. Often, veterans have trouble communicating what makes them so valuable as employees.
To help overcome these challenges, in March 2011 the Chamber of Commerce launched a nationwide program, Hiring Our Heroes, to aid veterans, transitioning service members and military spouses in finding meaningful employment.
The program works with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s vast network of state and local chambers and other strategic partners from the public, private and nonprofit sectors to create a movement across America in hundreds of communities where veterans and military families return every day.
Since its launch, Hiring Our Heroes has hosted more than 560 hiring fairs in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, and as of March 31, 2013, more than 20 thousand veterans and military spouses had found jobs through the program.
This year, Hiring Our Heroes is expanding the online component of the program to make it easier for veterans to access information wherever they are. Employers can visit the site to post job openings, sign up for a hiring fair to meet veterans looking for employment, commit to hiring veterans or even mentor a returning veteran.