Hero2Hired: helping veterans find jobs
by: Troops to Trades
January 17, 2016
By Nichole Osinski
Veterans looking to make headway in the job market will have an opportunity to find job openings at the Hero2Hired job fair.
The free fair will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Jan. 21 at the Dixie Center in St. George.
The event, in its fifth year, is held five times a year and is geared toward veterans, military spouses, active-duty military and members of the National Guard and Reserve.
More than 35 employers and five service providers with 120 combined job openings will be available to provide information on employment and current veteran benefits.
“Every one of the employers that comes to our job fair has to have open positions,” said Mark Harrison, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve program support specialist. “Our service members have a lot of skills that translate from their military experience, their leadership experience right into the workforce.”
Harrison said when unemployment was peaking several years ago, there were a large number of individuals interested in helping veterans.
Because of this interest, the ESGR decided to make an initiative to combine the available resources and create the Hero2Hired job fair. Harrison noted that most job seekers that come in are veterans.
Chuck Rackham, employment coordinator for Hero2Hired, said Hero2Hired is a way to get the word out for civilian employers in regards to what resources veterans and reserve military members can bring to a workplace.
In preparation for the job fair, he is teaching two resume classes to help people with interviewing, private sector resumes and how to work the job fair. The classes will be held at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Jan. 19 at the Dixie Conference Center.
Rackham said within the last couple of years the private sector has begun to realize what skills and abilities veterans can bring.
“Most of them are extremely hard working, they’re really diligent, they have a strong work ethic, they’re great employees,” Rackham said. “Our goal is to get as many service members and veterans hired as we can.”
According to Harrison, the last report from the Department of Labor almost matches the unemployment rate in Utah, which is at around 3.6 percent.
He said when Hero2Hired first started doing the job fairs, they were looking at double figures in unemployment rates among veterans and members of the Guard and Reserve.
Harrison said it can be hard to monitor the exact unemployment rate among this group because many veterans who are still unemployed will not update the Department of Workforce Services or other organizations that monitor the unemployment rates, noting because of this, he believes the number of unemployed veterans is actually higher than what has been reported.
Rackham said in St. George the unemployment rate is about 3.6 or 3.7 percent whereas it ranged between 11 to 14 percent about five years ago.
Harrison said that while the economy has improved and there are more opportunities for job-seekers, their ultimate goal is to help all attendees find a permanent position with the right employer.
“We want to make sure we get them together with employers and that the individuals walking out of there are getting job offers the day of the job fair,” Harrison said.