By David VergunApril 23, 2013
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, April 23, 2013) -- Transitioning Soldiers, veterans and family members now have a place to post their resumes and look for jobs. At the same place, employers can search for new workers and post their own announcements.
The site, HERO 2 HIRED, was created in November 2011 by the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs to assist service members in the reserve components.
The site isn't limited to the reserve component, however. Active duty service members have been flocking there as well in increasing numbers, said Col. Rob Yost, director, Transition Strategic Outreach, known as TSO. He is encouraging the influx.
Employers from more than 12,000 corporations, including small businesses and Fortune 500 companies, are now using the site to hire Soldiers and veterans. Nearly 109,000 Soldiers have already posted their resumes there.
Yost bills the site as a no-cost, one-stop shop that links employers with Soldiers.
There are plenty of good reasons for Soldiers to visit the site, Yost said. For one, he said the software that runs it is "unique with a lot of capability and power."
The site can help Soldiers translate what they did in the military into something that civilian employers might better understand. Americans pretty much know that an infantryman is capable of taking and holding a hill, Yost explained. But now thanks to the website, "corporate America is learning that an 11B (Infantryman) can also be a great manager, operations officer or program director.
"In the infantry [and in other military occupational specialties], Soldiers learn the value of teamwork, know how to lead a group and value mission accomplishment," he continued. "These are highly sought-after skills in corporate America."
The software running the site matches what employers are seeking with a Soldier's skills and experience. What employers are seeking is often quite different from a Soldier's military occupational specialty title, he explained.
Soldiers planning to separate should visit the site at least a year out, and should visit it frequently, he advised.
TSO's mission is to connect employers with Soldiers using the aforementioned website and through strategic communications efforts.
When the Veterans Opportunity to Work to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 -- often referred to as the VOW to Hire Heroes Act -- went into effect, there was no office responsible for connecting Soldiers to employers, Yost said.
As a result, TSO was stood up in September 2012. TSO doesn't interface directly with the Soldier, however. Instead, Yost's office contacts employers directly by phone, email and face-to-face meetings.
For instance, last week, Yost met at a convention with union representatives from around the nation. Included among those were the AFL-CIO, the Plumbers & Pipefitters Union, and the International Longshoremen's Association.
"We explained the benefits to them of hiring Soldiers and directed them to the website," he said.
In another recent instance, he said, a contractor was looking to hire two Soldiers who speak French. "We found seven French linguists, and of those interviewed, two were hired," Yost said.
Another aspect of TSO's mission is helping employers navigate the Army structure to find the talent they need, as well as answering a variety of questions about transitioning Soldiers. For example, Yost said, employers want to know how many Soldiers are transitioning, and from where.
"We also address concerns employers may have about hiring wounded, injured or ill Soldiers," he said.
Another part of the TSO mission is attending a bi-weekly teleconferencing with fusion cell partners, he said. The approximately 60 partners involved come from a variety of organizations who are able to help Soldiers connect with employers.
For example, there might be a partner who is aware of a hiring fair in Boise, Idaho.
"Once that is brought to our attention, we inform the Reserve or Guard unit which might be in that area," Yost said.
While TSO works behind the scenes to link Soldiers with employers, Soldiers can get personal help in Army Career & Alumni Program centers located across the country, Yost said.
As the drawdown continues over the next few years in the Army, the mission of connecting Soldiers with employers becomes more critical than ever, Yost said. "Being a part of this effort is a huge privilege and honor," he said.
The HERO 2 HIRED can be found at: www.h2h.jobs.
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