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The West Point Band is honored to be a part of the annual Hiring Our Heroes fair on March 27, 2013 at the 69th Regiment Armory in New York City. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce started the Hiring Our Heroes program in 2011 as a nationwide initiative to help veterans and military spouses find meaningful employment after military service. Transitioning out of the military can be overwhelming, especially with the added stress of finding a job. The current unemployment rate for veterans is higher than the national average, and our nation’s heroes deserve better. Thanks to Hiring Our Heroes, more than 18,400 veterans and military spouses have been hired by over 1,050 businesses as of the end of last year. To date, the program has hosted more than 400 fairs in all 50 states, and it hopes to host at least 400 fairs in 2013.

The success of Hiring our Heroes has lead to the launching of similar programs and initiatives, such as Hiring 500,000 Heroes, a program dedicated to engage the business community to hire half a million veterans and military spouses by the end of 2014. Another initiative is VetNet, an online resource designed to help combine all resources, tools, and instruction for helping service members find the right careers as they transition out of the military. Our nation’s veterans have undergone years of the best training and possess many exceptional skills, making them valuable to any business.

This marks the second year that the West Point Band has participated in Hiring Our Heroes in New York City, hosted in partnership with TODAY. Last year, the band performed on the TODAY show on the windswept deck of the USS Intrepid.  More than 1,500 job seekers and 100 employers were in attendance, and this year’s fair hopes to bring in even more.  In attendance this year will be Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Dakota Meyer; Major General Patrick A. Murphy, Adjutant General of New York; and Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Schmiegel (Ret.), Executive Director of Hiring Our Heroes, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and 20-year Marine veteran.

Words by Staff Sgt. Scott Beaver

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