The primary focus at the Norwalk Chamber is to increase the quality of life of Norwalk residents and to promote our local membership.
From time to time, though, I think it prudent to reach out beyond that focus to promote ideas for the greater good. A recent initiative by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, partnered locally by the Greater Des Moines Partnership (of which the Norwalk Chamber of Commerce is a member) is focused on trying to connect Iowa employers with veterans as they return home from military deployment. The program is called “Hire our Heroes,” and I would like to tell you about it.
Currently more that 16,000 Iowa veterans are unemployed. All of our hometown heroes puttheir lives at risk and careers on hold, often to return and find themselves unemployed or underemployed. They face communication and work history gaps, among other things, that become barriers to employment.
The “Hire our Heroes” campaign creates and consolidates resources that organizations can use when hiring military men and women. It channels employers to a place where they can post jobs for free, as well as search for potential candidates by matching desired criteria such as expertise and skills. It explains how various tax credits and financial incentives work for hiring unemployed veterans. Most importantly, it sponsors local job fairs that bring everyone to the same table. The 2012 “Hire our Hereos” job fair is Tuesday Nov. 6 at Veterans Memorial Auditorium from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
I know there are many people who live in Norwalk that understand this issue. We have many service men and women living in our town. There are also many people in Norwalk who are involved one way or another in the hiring of employees. Whether you run your own business, or work in your company’s human resource department, please be conscious of our heroes. At some point someone gave us a chance, and here is an opportunity to give back to those who deserve it most.
For more information the “Hire our Heroes” initiative, or the upcoming job fair, please contact the Chamber office at 981-0619.