Stanton: Phoenix H.E.R.O Initiative puts unemployed veterans back to work - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Opinion

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Stanton: Phoenix H.E.R.O Initiative puts unemployed veterans back to work

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Greg Stanton

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Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 12:49 pm

They proudly served our country and defended our freedom, but now some of our bravest veterans need our help.

That’s why I’m so proud of the Phoenix H.E.R.O. Initiative, which will put unemployed veterans back to work. We will begin educating city government and companies on the benefits of hiring veterans and creating targeted job events to recruit those looking for work.

On Veterans Day weekend, I had the honor of joining some of our military heroes to kick off the Phoenix H.E.R.O. initiative at City Hall. This plan focuses on four key areas — Hiring, Educating, Recruiting and Organizing — bringing together veterans with the companies that can put them back to work.

Specifically, the city is partnering with community veterans organizations to:

• Host workshops on resume writing and career counseling, helping veterans identify their job skills.

• Educate supervisory staff on the advantages of hiring veterans.

• Offer specialized counseling for returning veterans who have a tough time getting back into the work force.

• Give veterans priority at the city’s One-Stop Centers, which offer a variety of career services.

• Establish targeted invitation-only job events that pre-match job seekers and employers who are actively hiring veterans.

Several upcoming Veterans Employment workshops will help veterans with career skills:

• Dec. 4, 9 a.m. to noon at Papago Park National Guard Base, 5636 E. McDowell Road.

• Dec. 6, 4 to 7 p.m. at Phoenix College Downtown Campus, 640 N. 1st Ave.

• Dec. 8, 9 a.m. to noon at Grand Canyon University, 3300 W. Camelback Road.

Virgel Cain, a U.S. Navy veteran who serves on my military veteran’s commission, truly believes in the work that’s happening with the H.E.R.O. initiative. Virgel is an unemployed veteran who has struggled to find work for over a year. He told me he feels this type of targeted job approach is exactly what veterans need.

“I have attended countless job fairs over the past year and, although they are well intended, I have often left feeling frustrated and like just a face in a crowd,” he said. “We need a more personal approach to helping those of us who are unemployed find meaningful work.”

The Phoenix H.E.R.O Initiative is not simply a job fair or one-time event. This is something the city is going to do until we find jobs for our unemployed vets. It’s the least we can do for their service to our country and risking their lives to keep us safe.

• Greg Stanton was elected mayor of Phoenix in 2011.

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