PLAINS TWP. ‚?? U.S. Army Capt. Jason Menichetti and his wife, Capt. Mickey Menichetti, left military service in September. Now they need jobs.
And Wednesday they found a welcoming place to begin their search.
The Menichettis, of Jessup, were at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce‚??s National Chamber Foundation‚??s ‚??Hiring Our Heroes‚?Ě ‚?? a nationwide initiative to help veterans and military spouses find meaningful employment. Nearly 200 veterans ‚?? some with spouses ‚?? attended the event.
Emily Clark Munoz, coordinator of the event, said the program consists of a network of 1,600 state and local chambers and other strategic partners from the public, private and non-profit sectors. The goal is to find work for 500,000 veterans by the end of 2014.
Hiring Our Heroes Senior Director Ross Cohen said there are about 780,000 unemployed veterans. Since the Hiring Our Heroes program began in March 2012, he said, about 93,000 have found work through the effort.
‚??That‚??s about 19 percent of our goal,‚?Ě said Cohen, an enlisted Army veteran of Afghanistan. ‚??We anticipate an additional 1 million men and women to leave the military over the next five years. We look at this as a pre-emptive effort to not only find jobs for them, but to prepare them for those jobs upon leaving the military.‚?Ě
Jason Menichetti, 29, said veterans make good employees because they ‚??show up at the right time at the right place in the right uniform.‚?Ě
Mickey, 26, agreed. ‚??Military people are used to being held to a higher standard,‚?Ě she said.
Chuck West, military recruiter for Combined Insurance and an Army veteran, said his company is looking for agents and management personnel. ‚??Veterans possess reliability, leadership skills and they have a commitment to finish tasks,‚?Ě West said. ‚??Overall, veterans have an excellent work ethic.‚?Ě
He said his company has a commitment to hire 1,000 veterans across the country.
Most company representatives echoed West‚??s comments.
‚??Anyone who has been in the military has the leadership skills necessary to be successful in the workplace,‚?Ě said Phyllis Scott, corporate recruiter for Geisinger Health System, which employs 18,000 people in 22 counties. ‚??They have the professionalism needed for teamwork and overall cooperation.‚?Ě
‚??The best bet is to hire a vet,‚?Ě Ruth Gonzalez, veterans‚?? employment representative at CareerLink in Wilkes-Barre who has been assisting veterans for nearly 25 years, said. ‚??Some of these veterans have been in combat. They deserve that preference the government gives them.‚?Ě
Ellen Yuscavage, business manager at ServiceMASTER Clean in Dalton, said her company does building cleanup after disasters such as floods and fires and incidents involving mold and trauma. ‚??Veterans are hardworking and disciplined,‚?Ě she said. ‚??They have given to our country and we like to give back to them.‚?Ě
Vonda Clausen and Donna McLaughlin, from the human resources department at Home Depot, said the company employs 35,000 veterans. ‚??Why not veterans?‚?Ě Clausen asked rhetorically. ‚??They come with great experience and discipline.‚?Ě
Jason Arica, 24, of Wilkes-Barre, is a Marine Corps veteran who has been out of the service for two years and is working a temporary job. He wants to find a career in computer technology or electronics.
‚??It‚??s nice to see people looking out for veterans,‚?Ě Arica said. ‚??We always get the job done.‚?Ě
Amy Kingston, 31, of Shohola, who served in the Air Force until 2005, recently completed her degree in social psychology.
‚??Veterans have integrity,‚?Ě she said. ‚??We know how to work as a team.‚?Ě
The job fair is a collaborative partnership among the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; the chambers of commerce of Greater Scranton, Pittston, Wilkes-Barre, Hazleton, Carbondale and Wayne County; the U.S. Department of Labor Veterans‚?? Employment and Training Service; the Pennsylvania Committee of the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve; the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; The American Legion; the Workforce Investment Boards of Wayne, Luzerne/Schuylkill and Lackawanna counties; NBC News and other local partners.
Borton-Lawson, Consumer Credit Counseling Service, TMC Transportation, The Hertz Corp., Spherion Staffing & Recruiting, Fidelity Deposit & Disc. Bank, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Office of U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, Luzerne County Community College, PA CareerLink, First Quality Nonwovens, Bethany Village, Tobyhanna Army Depot, Express Employment Professionals, Transamerica Agency Network, Pathstone Corp., Friendship House, Kane Is Able Inc., GUARD Insurance Group, Mass Mutual Financial Group, Pride Mobility, Intrepid Detective Agency, Lackawanna College, Lehigh Career & Technical Institute, Prime Inc., DeAngelo Brothers Inc., Telerx, New Horizons Computer Learning Centers, McCann School of Business & Technology, Gentex Corp., New York Life, Dempsey Uniform & Linen Supply, Kevin‚??s Wholesale LLC, Combined Insurance Co. of America, Benco Dental Co., Western and Southern Financial Group, Allied Services Integrated Health System, ServiceMaster by Griffing, Army Community Service, Tobyhanna Army Depot, WBRE-TV / WYOU-TV / PAHomepage.com, Kelly Services, Home Depot, Prudential, Fanelli Bros. Trucking Co., Olympia Chimney Supply, General Electric Co., State Farm Insurance, OneSource Staffing Solutions, Chesapeake Energy, Lowe‚??s.