FORT CARSON, Colo. — The Fort Carson Transition Assistance Program hosted a two-day U.S. National Chamber of Commerce Foundation Hiring our Heroes Career Summit for active-duty service members, Families and veterans Sept. 21-22, 2022.
Sherry Jenkins, Fort Carson transition services manager said the goal of the summit was to expose the transitioning Soldiers, veterans, and Family members to networking and employment opportunities.
Job seekers were invited to multiple events throughout the two days.
The first day consisted of a networking reception located at the HUB, where 170 people attended to learn about developing professional contacts and marketing themselves toward future jobs.
Day two kicked off with a resume and interview skills panel made up of key industry leaders at McMahon Auditorium. The panel is designed to help improve job seekers’ resumes, interviewing skills and how to leverage their skills to land a job.
One of the keynote speakers on day two was former senior enlisted adviser to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, retired U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. and Hiring our Heroes ambassador, John Wayne Troxell. He impressed upon the audience the importance of this day.
“Today is a big day ladies and gentlemen,” said Troxell. “For you transitioning service members or those that are thinking about transitioning, this starts the next journey in your life.”
Mike Webb, director of human resources, another keynote speaker, told everyone in attendance that during their time in the military they had learned many intangible skills such as leadership, teamwork and communication that employers are looking for.
“Don’t sell yourself short,” said Webb. “There are a lot of skills that you don’t realize that you have, that these companies need.”
The hiring event kicked off that afternoon at the William “Bill” Reed Special Events Center, where more than 105 employers representing government and private businesses, some coming from outside of Colorado were ready to hire with over 80,000 open positions needing to be filled. The positions ranged from skill trades all the way up to high tech information technology positions.
Bailey Malone, BNSF Railway, said that they want to hire military members because the military and the railway have a similar structure and work style.
“They bring a fantastic skill set,” said Malone. “They have a lot of transferable skills that apply really easily to a lot of our positions.”
Even though today’s job market is different than it has been in the past, Soldiers still face challenges transitioning from the military and entering the civilian sector.
“Speaking from my own experience a lot of us grow up in the military and that is truly all we have known,” said Jenkins. “So, it is our first experience truly with the interviewing and translating our skills and things like that, so that is probably the biggest challenge.”
Over 250 active-duty service members, Families, and veterans attended the hiring event.
Staff Sgt. Treviaus James, Special Operations Command, said he is nervous about leaving the military in the next month but with the help he is receiving he feels more comfortable about transitioning.
“There is definitely a lot of uncertainty,” said James. “But with the Transition Assistance Program and events like this, makes the transition easier.”