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From war-zone to workplace
SBy Staff Sgt. Wayne Woolley, 444th Mobile Public Affairs

Hero 2 Hired homepage provides veterans looking for a job or a new career a place to start.

The ability to get the job done is a thread that runs through most people who have served in the military. It begins at basic training when recruits are forced to perform under pressure. It continues in training when service members are bombarded with information they must synthesize and use effectively.

These critical thinking and problem solving skills then grow over a military career. A young Airman, Marine, Sailor or Soldier may find himself or herself in charge of millions of dollars of equipment or responsible for maintaining sophisticated weapons systems.

These skills then get put to the ultimate test in places where some decisions are truly a matter of life and death.

When these people leave active duty, or return from a National Guard or Reserve deployment, they face a tough economy and tight job market.

There are about 2.5 million veterans of the post-9/11 era -- and an additional 200,000 men and women are expected to leave military service this year. Nationally, the unemployment rate for these Veterans under age 24 is 30 percent and it is 13 percent for veterans between the ages of 25 and 34.

New Jersey's numbers are better than the national average. The Department of Labor and Workforce Development puts the state's veterans' unemployment rate at about eight percent.

It's still too high.

That's why the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs is working with other state and federal agencies, including Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, to find more ways to match veterans with quality employers.

The most comprehensive effort in this area is Hero2Hired, an ESGR program that helps Reserve Component members explore careers, find militaryfriendly companies and enhance their marketability by showing prospective employers how skills they learned in the military can benefit their company.

One of the most helpful features of the Hero2Hired Website, https://h2h. jobs/, is a job search engine that allows users to search for civilian jobs by inputting their military occupational skills identifier.

At a job fair in March hosted by the New Jersey Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve, prospective employers got to meet people like Staff Sgt. Marcellus Wilson, who had just finished a 10-year career as a full-time Army National Guard logistician. He honed those skills during in his military service here in New Jersey – and under the stress of two combat deployments. Wilson has a passion for supply-chain management. "If you love what you do, you don't consider it a job," he says. He left the fair with a half dozen interviews lined up.

A few weeks later, the Christie Administration and Prudential teamed up for a symposium to help employers learn how to add more veterans to their pools of job candidates.

More than three dozen employers came to the event and they included representatives from some of the state's biggest employers on down to people like Jo Ann Marianne, the chief operating officer of the Ironbound Community Corporation, a non-profit in Newark's Ironbound section. Marianne, who spent most of her career in corporate America in jobs related to the defense industry, was there because she wants to hire veterans because she knows they make good employees. But she needed tips on the best ways to find them without a large human resources department.

She came to the right place. Prudential has been repeatedly recognized as one of America's most veteran- friendly corporations. They earned this distinction by hiring an entire team of retired veterans whose only job is to make sure the company is looking to find the best potential employees the military has to offer – and then making sure they get the support they need to succeed once they're hired.

Their service does not automatically entitle them to a job. But they do deserve every opportunity to have a full evaluation of their talents and their character by as many prospective employers as possible.

Most employers who take a look at these young men and women will conclude that hiring a veteran is not just the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do.


Table of Contents
Volume 35 Number 4 Staff / Information
(c) 2013 NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs