USA: NBSD Hosts ‘Hiring Our Heroes’

More than 500 people seeking jobs and nearly 60 employers came to Naval Base San Diego’s (NBSD) Anchors Catering and Conference Center to participate in the “Hiring Our Heroes” employment fair, Aug. 16.

Hiring our Heroes began in March 2011 as a nationwide initiative by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to help veterans and military spouses find meaningful employment.

Virginia Carpenter, U.S. Chamber of Commerce western regional associate, said these events are successful because the employers must have a certain amount of positions available for veterans prior to registering.

“A lot of veterans are coming back from the desert and getting out and suddenly they find themselves unemployed, but a lot of that is because they don’t know how to translate what they’ve done in the military into civilian terms. So, that’s one of the most important things we do here,” said Carpenter.

Shipmates to Workmates (SM2WM), a civil service hiring initiative, partnered with the Chamber of Commerce to put on this event to primarily help Sailors forced to separate under the Enlisted Retention Board (ERB) find jobs.

These events are really good because any employer that’s here has to have a job opening, ” said SM2WM Program Manager Cmdr. Pat Sanders. “They have to be able to hire on the spot. During a past event in Gulfport, Miss., there were right around 150 job offerings. So, we are very hopeful that there will be a significant number of job offers extended today to participants that show up here.”

Bob Lewis, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southwest workforce development analyst, stressed to attendees the importance of preparing for the transition into the civilian workforce.

“There are certain hoops that we all have to go through, we have to apply and it’s a competitive process. Depending on their status, when they retire or separate and depending on whether they qualify will increase their employment opportunities with us, and that’s the same with all the Federal Government,” said Lewis.

Culinary Specialist Seaman Roderick Brown attended the job expo because he plans to exit the military at the end of his active obligated service (EAOS).

“I’m getting out in four months and I’m trying to set myself up. I feel motivated and a little relieved after attending the fair,” he said. “I’m hoping to transition right into Military Sealift Command.”

Personnel Specialist 1st Class Martin Valdiviajauregui is preparing to retire in April, but wanted to start looking now for future employment.

“Since I didn’t pick up chief, it’s time to start looking for my next career,” he said. “You have TAP [transition assistance program], but this is just one more way to help veterans transition into the civilian job force.”

Naval Today Staff, August 20, 2012