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Crossposted from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation blog.
As we step into the second half of 2014, Hiring Our Heroes is proud to report new numbers and progress in our mission to find meaningful employment opportunities for veterans, service members, and military spouses.
Since our program began in March 2011, more than 1,500 companies have hired 23,000 veterans and military spouses as a result of more than 740 hiring fairs across the country. Veterans like Cassandra Cook, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran featured in the video above, who thanks to Hiring Our Heroes, is now working with Verizon.
Just over two years ago, we worked with Capital One to launch Hiring 500,000 Heroes, a national campaign to engage the business community in committing to hire half a million veterans and military spouses by the end of 2014. Thus far, more than 1,500 businesses have pledged to hire 435,000 heroes toward this goal. To date, 265,000 of those pledges have been met.
This much is clear: the collective efforts of the private and public sector are working. The employment situation has started to improve for our nation’s military members and their families.
Still, while we have been thrilled to see this progress, we recognize that there is so much more to be done for these men and women. As the U.S. continues to reduce its force in Afghanistan and the Pentagon faces leaner budgets, America will see an unprecedented number of service members transitioning out of the military. In fact, we can expect somewhere between 280,000 and 300,000 service members to transition annually for the next 3-5 years—a 30% increase over the normal rate. This does not include the hundreds of thousands of military spouses who also will need jobs.
Moving forward, we will continue to expand our reach through online efforts, particularly with virtual career fairs, the All*Vet States initiative to highlight vet-focused programs of each state and territory, an interactive Employer Best Practices site, and much more. We will continue to refine our hiring event model and host fairs, jobs summits, workshops, and networking receptions in hundreds of communities across the country.
The mission remains as relevant and necessary as ever: to grow a grassroots movement, backed by national resources, which rallies local communities around hiring veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses.