'Hiring Heroes' Leads Wounded Soldiers to Jobs
March 2, 2007
By Shawn Morris
FORT DIX, N.J. (Army News Service, March 2, 2007) - When citizens volunteer to be Soldiers, they swear to protect the country even when it means placing themselves in harm's way. In turn, the nation promises not to forget those warriors who return from conflict bearing battle scars.
To this end, Fort Dix and the Installation Management Command hosted the Hiring Heroes Technical Workshop and Career Fair Tuesday and Wednesday at the post's Timmermann Conference Center.
The two-day, Defense Department-run event offered servicemembers wounded in the war on terror the chance to revamp their resumes, brush up on job interview skills, learn to dress for success, and meet with more than 40 potential employers, veterans organizations and government agencies.
Nearly 300 servicemembers attended, including wounded warriors from Charlie Company, the Fort Dix medical-holdover unit, as well as Soldiers from the Massachusetts and Virginia branches of the Army's Community Based Health Care Organization.
"This career fair is a huge event," said Lt. Gen. Robert Wilson, assistant chief of staff for installation management and commanding general, Installation Management Command. "I urge each of you to take advantage of the resources we have here today. Each of you chose to wear the American Flag on your right shoulder. I deeply appreciate and have deep respect for what you do for your country. We're committed to you."
Tuesday's technical workshop focused on social security and veterans' benefits, the Military One Source program and dressing for success. Nearly 20 volunteers were also on hand to help Soldiers create or fine-tune resumes for Wednesday's career fair.
"I turned in my resume to a couple of places - my resume that the job fair helped me to prepare," said Staff Sgt. Giovanna Moreno, who is currently attached to the Massachusetts CBHCO.
Recruiters at Wednesday's job fair came from such organizations as IBM, Greyhound, Comcast Cable Communications, Commerce Bank, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the National Security Agency, Secret Service, New Jersey Department of Labor and the Central Intelligence Agency.
"They bring a lot to the table," Amy Layton of Commerce Bank said of servicemembers. "A large part of it is that they understand the meaning of teamwork."
Sgt. 1st Class Robert Nolan, a 26-year veteran currently attached to the Massachusetts CBHCO, called the event "fantastic."
"Everybody here is so enthusiastic about taking care of Soldiers. It restores my faith in the military," he said.
Restoring Soldiers' faith is a big part of the Hiring Heroes program, according to Karen Hannah, Hiring Heroes program manager and supervisory human resources specialist with the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
"I hope they gain a feeling someone's still watching out for them," said Hannah. "They've had training and experiences that someone in the private sector has never had. They have valuable skills they don't even realize they have."
The Fort Dix Hiring Heroes Job Fair marks the eighth such event, with fairs previously held at Fort Sam Houston, Texas; Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort Gordon, Ga.; and Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
According to the Pentagon, approximately 1,000 wounded warriors have obtained jobs through the Hiring Heroes program. Planners for the Fort Dix event are taking a less quantitative approach to assessing the event's value, however.
"If the Soldiers are happy with it, it's a success."
(Shawn Morris writes for the Fort Dix, N.J, Public Affairs Office.)