DOBBINS AIR RESERVE BASE, Ga. “â€ Two major challenges facing the nation are unemployment and underemployment.
These related problems are especially severe for junior enlisted people in the National Guard and Reserve. A 2011 survey of them showed a 23 percent unemployment rate in pay grades E-1 through E-4.
In response to these issues, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs launched “Hero2Hired,” better known as H2H, in December.
The Department of Defense wants reserve component people to have civilian jobs that provide stability while allowing them the time and resources to contribute to the nation’s defense.
“Service members and their families should not have to sacrifice economic security because they stepped forward to serve our country,” said retired Army Maj. Gen. Ronald Young, director of Family and Employer Programs and Policy.
“Right now America’s military members are returning to a challenging work environment,” said Young, who also serves as executive director of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. “H2H.jobs (the program’s website) aims to simplify the job search while reducing the number of unemployed reserve component service members.”
According to the website, H2H.jobs isn’t just another job site for military people. Instead, it’s a Yellow Ribbon-funded, multi-faceted program for reservists. The program supports them through an electronic job and career web platform, mobile applications and Facebook integration and virtual and physical career fairs.
“Reservists and guardsmen go online to H2H.jobs from a computer or from a mobile phone and find listings of military-friendly employers looking to hire reserve component members,” said Army Sgt. Maj. Wayne Bowser, senior enlisted adviser for Family and Employer Programs and Policy. “They even have the opportunity to speak directly with employers.”
In addition to the interactive website with job listings, career exploration tools and networking opportunities, H2H offers a military skills translator, job-seeker profile builders, social networking and mobile offices.
“The military skills translator allows applicants to enter their military occupational code to get a list of career paths that fit their military training and experience,” said Jim Strickland, ESGR-reserve component liaison for Air Force Reserve Command.
The career assessment surveys an applicant’s skills and interest to help determine what career types best fit the person’s background.
“We view civilian employment as an important piece of a reserve component service member’s readiness,” Young said. “We see the high unemployment rate as a clear threat to the readiness of our force.”
In the past year, ESGR and H2H have assisted the National Chamber of Commerce in its hiring fairs across the country.
At more than 100 events in 45 states and the District of Columbia, more than 84,000 veterans, reserve component members and military spouses have been connected with nearly 5,000 different employers. As a result, more than 8,400 people have gained employment.
H2H is sponsoring 40 “Hiring Our Heroes” job fairs this year in locations with high reserve component unemployment.
Editor’s Note: The Hero 2 Hired link is placed on the March ARB website: http://www.march.afrc.af.milÃ‚Â