Fort Riley hosts Hiring our Heroes Summit

By Thomas ReustApril 14, 2023

Hiring our Heroes Summit
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – FORT RILEY, USA - Participants ready their resumes as they wait for the employers during the Hiring the Heroes Summit on April 13 at Fort Riley. (Photo Credit: Thomas Reust) VIEW ORIGINAL
Fort Riley Hiring our Heroes Summit
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – FORT RILEY, USA- John Lawrence, director of the directorate of human resources, Col. Michael Foote, Fort Riley garrison commander, and Debra Shelkey, transition service manager attend the Fort Riley Hiring our Heroes Summit on April 13 at Fort Riley, Kansas. (Photo Credit: Thomas Reust) VIEW ORIGINAL
Hiring our Heroes Summit
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – FORT RILEY, USA - Over 300 participants attend the Fort Riley Hiring our Heroes Summit on April 13 at Fort Riley. (Photo Credit: Thomas Reust) VIEW ORIGINAL

In the afternoon heat of April 13, about 300 people lined up for Fort Riley’s Hiring our Heroes career summit. Ninety-eight prospective employers crowded Riley’s Community Center to showcase their companies’ employment opportunities. The event was part of the Fort Riley Transition Assistance Program’s ongoing mission to help military spouses, veterans and Soldiers find their place in the civilian sector. Hiring our Heroes organizers say the probability of getting referred to hiring managers from the event is over 74%.

Fort Riley Transition Service Manager, Debra Shelkey, said this event is important for Soldiers, military spouses, and veterans. “They come here and realize there are more opportunities than they ever thought about. They also learn how what they’ve learned is very valuable to civilian employers. “

Col. Michael Foote, Fort Riley Garrison commander said that Hiring our Heroes partnerships are important in connecting quality individuals within the military umbrella to careers with participating business exhibitors. “We are sending the employers folks who have integrity, a sense of loyalty, and a great work ethic.” Foote said.

Attendees ranged from civilian spouses and privates to senior officers. According to event organizers, the turnout was the largest in recent history. In addition to the career fair, the Hiring Our Heroes Career Summit offered attendees classes on subjects like economic success, career exploration with industry leaders, preparing for interviews, resume writing, job searching with LinkedIn and transition internships/apprenticeships.

One of the organizations exhibiting at the career fair was the United States Border Control. Border Patrol recruiter French “Billy” Reed from the Kansas City area says recruits from Fort Riley are an important part of securing the border. “Veterans are the key, and they already have the skills we’re looking for in our agents. They have integrity, loyalty to the country and for us it’s an easy fit. They blend right in and now a third of our workforce consists of veterans. After today, we’ll be looking to hire as soon as tomorrow given their resume and willingness to head out to the area of operations.”

Participating job seekers demonstrated a diverse set of skills, ranging from military police to graphic design. That diversity was evident as participants wore operational camouflage pattern uniforms, business suits and business casual as they lined up to talk with employers.

One of those in attendance, Staff Sgt. Christopher Woods, 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, said this type of event is an important piece of his strategy for transitioning out of the military. “You want to start early so that you can not only find a position that pays well, but also that fits into something you would enjoy as a career. If you do the work now to find the right job, then it’s much easier to make that final step into the civilian sector.”

Hiring our Heroes says it has paved the way for more than 600,000 jobs for military veterans, Soldiers, and military spouses. In 2019 that equated to a little over 40 percent of participants getting job offers. For more information on the program and the other services offered by the Fort Riley Transition Assistance Program, visit