Hiring Our Heroes: Providing employment opportunities for those who served

  • Published
  • By Christopher Decker
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – The Air Force preaches mission first, people always. It provides Airmen and their families with a network, purpose and paycheck.

So what happens when it’s time to move or just time to move on? How do the bills get paid?

On April 4, the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Career Exploration and Hiring Fair provides a solution to that problem. The event brings about 50 companies under a single roof with employment opportunities for veterans, military spouses and transitioning Airmen.

“Employers want to hire you because you bring a credentialling that most people don’t have and a work ethic that most people wish they could achieve,” said Shonte Gonzalez, a community readiness consultant with the WPAFB Military and Family Readiness Center. “Employers come to this job fair because they want that talent.”

Gonzalez teaches job-interviewing skills, polishes resume writing and guides people transitioning from military to civilian life. Her job is to help people find their job. That is why she and the event organizers ensure every employer at the fair is serious about hiring our heroes.

“One of the questions we ask them is, ‘Are you hiring? How many positions do you have open and available?’” she said. “We don’t want them to come just to surf for resumes. We want them to come with the intention to hire.”

Last year, 119 people attended the event looking for future employment. Seventeen walked away with a job offer and employers lined up another 152 follow-up interviews.

“You can apply online to the same companies, but here, they get to see your face and your personality,” Gonzalez said. “So when you do apply, they say ‘I remember that person. They stood out.’”

The free event is at the Hope Hotel and it’s open to all veterans, military spouses or uniformed Airmen looking to transition out of military service. The day is divided into two parts: There are a series of workshops from 9 to 11 a.m. followed by the hiring fair from 11 to 2 p.m.

Besides dressing in business-professional or business-casual clothing, Gonzalez said to bring two things to the fair.

“Confidence. Come with confidence and come with a resume,” she added.

Registration is already open, walk-ins are welcome and military spouses can attend without their uniformed partner. To register or discover more about the event, log on to hiringourheroes.org/wright-patt.