JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – From Sept. 22 to 23, Joint Base Lewis-McChord hosted the annual Hiring our Heroes Career Summit to bring transitioning service members, veterans and military family members together with federal and state agencies, military and local community leaders and businesses looking to hire them.
Day one began at Carey Theater and offered a series of career planning and pathway workshops and employer panel discussions. Opening remarks were given by Maj. Gen. Xavier Brunson, commanding general for I Corps.
“This is about opportunity,” Brunson said. “Opportunity for you to learn that there is life after the military.”
He implored attendees to take advantage of all the resources available to them.
More than 120 companies and over 200 job seekers registered to attend the event.
“When I got out, I didn’t have secure employment,” said Andrew Parks, program coordinator with the Career Training and Placement Foundation.
Parks worked in the Air Defense Artillery branch of the U.S. Army for eight years and retired as a staff sergeant.
At the time, he had his wife and three kids, but no plan. He went through the CPI Foundation’s training and soon after became an employee of the company.
“It’s important for me to come to these events, because I remember being in their shoes years ago,” Parks said.
The first day ended with a networking social at American Lake Conference Center to connect leaders and job seekers with top employers.
Day two kicked off at Hangar 9 on McChord Field. Hundreds of attendees stood outside, eager to learn about the many opportunities available to them.
One of those attendees was U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. John Frisk, standardizations and evaluations flight chief with 8th Airlift Squadron, 62nd Operations Group.
“This is my first time at this event, and I’m just looking at all the possibilities,” he said.
Frisk holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and will be retiring in January 2022.
Attendees came from all walks of life: those beginning or nearing the end of their careers, some looking to switch companies and military spouses wanting new opportunities.
“I’m looking for something virtual that will work around my husband’s schedule,” said U.S. Army spouse Lucy Karanja.
Karanja’s husband is deploying next year, and she said she wants to find a career that will give her flexibility.
This is the eighth year JBLM has hosted the event and the 122nd event on a military base since 2014 for HOH. JBLM has a 38% placement rate for individuals who attend, while HOH has an overall placement rate of 40%.
To learn more about HOH, visit its website.
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