By Mr. Eric Durr, New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs May 31, 2013
BUFFALO--The United States Chamber of Commerce effort to match military veterans and National Guard and Reserve forces members who want jobs with employers who want to hire veterans, comes to Buffalo's Connecticut Street Armory on June 5.
The New York National Guard will host the local edition of the United States Chamber of Commerce's Hire Our Heroes Job Fair at the armory at 184 Connecticut Street. The job fair starts at 1 p.m. and runs through 4 p.m.
The Buffalo vent is one of many being held across the country co-sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other entities. Similar events in New York have already been held in New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Binghamton.
More than 65 employers who have at least five jobs to offer have agreed to take part at the Connecticut Street Armory job fair.
This is the second time the Hire our Heroes effort has come to western New York. An event was held at the American Legion Matthew Glab Post #1477 in Lackawanna in May 2012.
The fair is designed to allow National Guard soldiers and airmen, military Reserve members, Active Duty service members, veterans and military spouses to submit applications to prospective employers and also learn how to use job-hunting tools.
The event on June 5 is co-sponsored by the New York National Guard, NYS Department of Labor, the Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve (ESGR), the U. S. Department of Labor Veterans Employment and Training Service (DOL VETS), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and The American Legion.
According to U.S. Census figures more than 69,000 veterans live in Erie County. New York is home to almost a million veterans of all ages.
The unemployment rate for veterans was about seven percent overall at the end of 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, but the rate for veterans who have served in the active military since Sept. 11, 2001, stood at 13.2 percent. The unemployment rate for veterans who served in the National Guard and Reserve was 7.2 percent, according to the bureau.
National Guard unemployment rates are lower than those for veterans in general because the National Guard works aggressively with employers to find jobs for their members, whether veterans or not, according to Col. Wendul Hagler, who works on employment issues for the National Guard Bureau.
"The New York National Guard is partnering with the US Chamber of Commerce in hosting these job fairs because we want to ensure that our Citizen Soldiers, both present and past, have an opportunity to have jobs," said Major General Patrick Murphy, the Adjutant General of New York. "This makes our soldiers, airmen and all our veterans productive citizens."
"Our Guard soldiers and airmen, reserve military members, and active duty veterans are valuable employees for any business," Murphy said. "They are educated, disciplined, and dedicated. The skills and work habits they have acquired serving our country add value to the civilian workplace as well."
The Hiring Our Heroes employment workshop consists of a classroom session beginning one hour prior to the hiring fair followed by human resources professionals conducting one-on-one mentoring sessions with all pre-registered participants. Mentoring sessions focus on resume building; resume writing, and interviewing techniques for all job-seeking veteran and service member participants.
During the event in New York City, 108 employers conducted 710 interviews with job seekers and made offers to 90 of those veterans at the event.
So far the Hire our Heroes effort has resulted in more than 100,000 veterans, Guard members, Reservists and military spouses finding jobs, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The goal of the campaign is to find jobs for 500,000 veterans, Guard soldiers and airmen, reservists and military spouses.
To help citizen soldiers and airmen hook up with employers who want to hire military veterans, the New York National Guard has created the New York National Guard Job Zone program. Retired military members help Guard soldiers and Airmen understand how they military skills apply in the civilian workplace and also help employers understand what military veterans bring to the marketplace.
The Job Zone webpage alerts Guard members to potential jobs and also provides links to websites they can use to help them explain their military acquired skills and experience to civilian employers