SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Soldiers transitioning from the Army, family members and veterans have an opportunity to meet nearly 100 potential employers, here, July 7-8, at the Hawaii Transition Summit.
Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald will also attend to deliver keynote speeches.
"At no time in history has this many national employers been in Hawaii with the express purpose of hiring service members," said Sabrina Rasmussen, Transition Assistance specialist for the Soldier for Life Transition Assistance Program. "Even if you are considering transition in the next few years, this is a unique opportunity to test and learn about private sector opportunities."
She pointed out that, with the reality sequestration and the potential downsizing of the Army, it makes sense for Soldiers to prepare for the future.
"Downsizing is a simple reminder that all Soldiers will eventually transition from active duty, and that eventuality might not always coincide with a personal timeline," she said. "Preparation can never start too early, and this summit can prepare even those who may have no immediate desire or plan to separate from the military."
Jack Norton, senior manager of communications for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Hiring Our Heroes program, concurred.
"What we have learned over the last four years of our organization being in existence is that one of the biggest problems service members face when transitioning out of the military is that they do not start preparing early enough," he said. "Transition summits like this one, held both in the continental U.S. and abroad, help reach service members well in advance of their transition."
The summit kicks off July 7 with a networking event at the Nehelani that will bring together Soldiers, family members and veterans with representatives from companies and government agencies that are looking to hire, including but not limited to Microsoft, Lockheed Martin, FedEx, Bank of America and the Social Security Administration.
Many of these organizations have job openings and are ready to hire on the spot, according to Rasmussen.
The summit continues on July 8 with employment panels at the Martinez Physical Fitness Center, workshops at various locations and a job fair at the Nehelani. The workshops will cover resume writing and job interviewing skills, employment for military spouses and career opportunities in the federal government, among other topics.
Soldiers scheduled to transition out of the Army between July 8, 2015, and July 30, 2016, are required to attend the summit. Soldiers who are transitioning out of the Army in the next 18 months, or who are considering transitioning, are highly encouraged to attend.
Those interested in attending should register at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's website and upload a copy of their resume.
Registering ahead of the event helps to eliminate long lines at the event and allows employers to screen potential employees before the event, thereby streamlining the process.
After wrapping up at Schofield Barracks, the summit moves on to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on July 8-9, with panel discussions, networking opportunities and a job fair.
The Hawaii Transition Summit comes on the heels of similar transition summits held at military bases on the mainland and overseas. In March, the Soldier for Life Transition Summit at Fort Benning, Georgia, drew hundreds of Soldiers, family members and veterans, according to the U.S. Army website.
Earlier this month, a Hiring Heroes Job Fair at Joint Base Meyer-Henderson Hall in Virginia resulted in 143 interviews and 17 job offers, according to the U.S. Army website.
Developed in 2014 by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Hiring Our Heroes program, the U.S. Departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs; the U.S. Army; the U.S. Small Business Administration; and the White House's Joining Forces Initiative, these transition summits are designed to educate recruiters and community leaders on best practices in hiring and retaining military employees, while also helping service members and military spouses prepare for the civilian workforce.
Pick up a copy of the July 3 edition of the "Hawaii Army Weekly" for a full schedule of Hawaii Transition Summit events at Schofield Barracks.
To eliminate long lines at the event, those who plan to attend the Hawaii Transition Summit should register ahead of time by visiting uschamberfoundation.org/event/hawaii-transition-summits.