Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Fort Hood Military Hiring Event Matches Veterans with Careers

The Fort Hood Military Hiring Event, held March 8 and 9, marked the first official Military Hiring Event co-sponsored by The White House Joining Forces initiative to Hire Veterans and Orion International. The Fort Hood Event was also sponsored by the Fort Hood ACAP and brought the soldiers at Fort Hood face-to-face with hiring managers eager to recruit them. The event also made headlines on Austin YNN, KCEN-TV, The Fort Hood Sentinel, and the Killeen Daily Herald and is described in a blog post on the Joining Forces website by Captain Brad Cooper, Executive Director of Joining Forces, who was in attendance.

The two-day event featured interview preparation, company briefings, and pre-arranged interviews for the more than 120 soldiers in attendance. Companies like Allied Wire, Dollar General, Hess, Honeywell, Kansas City Southern Railroad, Schlumberger , and Siemens, to name a few, attended the event with the commitment of hiring multiple job seekers. These companies have more than 130 open positions with salaries that range from $35,000-$85,000.

The Event exceeded expectations, with an average of about 3 interviews per solider and a large portion of first interviews leading to follow-ups. Kansas City Southern Railroad hit the ground running after the Event and has already hired multiple candidates, including Gerry Peppmuller.

Peppmuller, a Major in the Army, retires in August 2012 with 22+ years of service from his position as an Operational Field Artillery Officer. He attended the Fort Hood Military Hiring Event after filling out an online application. “I made first contact (phone) with my Orion career consultant on Wednesday 7 March 2012, and, in a little over 48 hours from our initial phone conversation, I had received an offer of employment!” states Peppmuller.

Peppmuller credits both his civilian and military experience for helping him obtain his new position as Director of Environmental, Health, and Safety for Kansas City Southern Railroad. “The civilian education that I completed within my masters program, along with my numerous years of military experience in operations, management, leadership, safety, and weapons systems testing and evaluation, played a key part in my ability to get a new career started with this railroad corporation after I retire from military service,” explains Peppmuller.

Robert Squires, a Sergeant Major in the Army and the III Corps and Fort Hood Equal Opportunity Program Manager, was also in attendance. Squires recalls that his past experience at traditional job fairs had not been very productive. “[Job fairs] are usually held in a large ballroom with 40 to 50 companies. Then you add 800-1000 people in their different stages of their out processing of the Army; ranging from already out of the Army to still having two years left on their contract, and you find yourself fighting the crowd of people to get to that company’s table and hoping that you get there at the start of the brief that the company representative was giving to a crowd,” explains Squires.

He found the Fort Hood Military Hiring Event format to be much better. “The event was first-rate,” says Squires, “The Day 1 agenda was very productive for both the soldier looking for a job and the company looking for veterans; and the Day 2 interviews with the selected companies were all any job seeker could hope for. It really makes you feel that someone is looking out for your best interest in the job hunting process.”

With over 300 interviews taking place, the Fort Hood Military Hiring Event successfully carried out the Joining Forces directive to expand employment and career development opportunities for veterans. “I am pleased that we were able to assist a group of dedicated professionals that honestly deserve our thanks and our efforts. They were a great group of soldiers,” says Mike Starich, President of Orion International. The next Military Hiring Event will be held at Fort Bragg in April 26 & 27.

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