Civilian employers are Hiring Our Heroes

  • Published
  • By R.J. Oriez
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- The key to success is often the ability to match one group’s needs with the talents of another. That is the goal of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes program — to connect companies that have jobs to fill with transitioning service members looking for their next career.

Adam Rocke, Hiring Our Heroes senior director for external engagements, brought his program to Hope Hotel near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base on June 22 to help connect Airmen about to transition to civilian life, those recently separated and spouses with more than 50 companies looking for reliable people to hire.

“Hiring Our Heroes is here to enable Wright Patterson Air Force Base, and its transitioning service counselors and program, to help the transitioning service members, the local veterans, the military spouses in this community, be informed and find meaningful employment,” Rocke said.

The first challenge was to teach people who had been in the military their entire adult life how things work and what to expect in the civilian job market.

“You come here and you'll learn what you don’t know about the civilian community out there,” Rocke said of the transitioning Airmen. “You’ll learn what it takes to get a job, what industries are out there … the details about an interview or how to build a network.”

The morning was class time.

“We'll do about three hours’ worth of intensive classes where we’ll give them content about industry,” he said.

The afternoon session gave attendees an opportunity to put what they learned into action.

“We’ve got nearly 60 companies with over 50,000 open positions right now,” Rocke said. “So there’s something here for everybody.”

Master Sgt. Michael Fitzell, 88th Medical Group, is looking at finishing a 23-year Air Force career in the next six to eight months. He attended the morning classes and then wandered among the tables set up by the various company representatives.

“It's been great,” Fitzell said. “The ability to learn about LinkedIn, how different entities hire us, as well as being able to talk to them, getting some insight on what kind of opportunities are available for people that are transitioning out of the military, is great.”

Rocke said the current employment environment is good.

“Companies are looking for talent,” he said. “They’re looking for employment and they’re coming to us now because they know that the military community has the talent they’re looking for. (Veterans) have the skill sets and they have those intangibles that they’re looking for.”