Searching for a new career is incredibly difficult, particularly for men and women who have served our country since September 11, 2001. Challenges are abound during the transition from warrior to civilian, as 31 percent of all Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom veterans aged 18-24 are currently unemployed.
The USO, in partnership with Hire Heroes USA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is connecting our nation’s best and brightest with potential employers through a series of workshops around the country, with the latest taking place at Fort Belvoir in Virginia through Wednesday, May 11.
To see results from these career fairs, look no further than Spc. Mac Griffin and his new bride, Spc. Chelsea Griffin. The newlyweds have about two and four months left in the Army, respectively, and attended the April 14 workshop at Colorado’s Fort Carson with low expectations of finding jobs.
Mac, 28, was more than happy to admit that he initially underestimated the power of the USO-Hire Heroes USA-U.S. Chamber of Commerce event.
“I walked in without a resume and not knowing what kind of skills I could translate from the military to civilian life,” Mac told the USO. “In a couple hours I had a resume, and two days later I had my first interview.”
Chelsea, 24, had similar success at the job fair, and the Griffins, still beaming in the spring sunlight after recently tying the knot, didn’t see their good fortune end there.
“Every company that I talked to has been calling me constantly,” Mac said. “I’ve been offered some jobs, so all I have to do is finish up with the military and then step into a job.”
Mac and Chelsea have both been through deployments to Iraq, experiencing stress that few outside the military can imagine. As the Georgia and Arkansas natives plan to move closer to their families, who still live in the deep south, newfound clarity in their career paths replaces a major worry during their transition to post-military life.
“Everything is just wonderful,” said Mac, who is overwhelmed with gratitude for the USO-Hire Heroes USA-U.S. Chamber of Commerce career fair that changed his life.
With wars and economic challenges gripping the United States, the USO and Hire Heroes USA is committed to helping more troops and veterans like the Griffins realize their dreams. — Tom Sileo, USO Director of Story Development