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Catawba County attendees at the Hiring for Heroes Job Fair at Fort Bragg. Shown (from left) are Shawn Brown, Shelly Mundy, Nathan Huret, Danny Hearn, Lindsay Keisler, Russ Vickers, Paula Howe, Mary Kay Rayfield.

Hickory - The Catawba County Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Corporation greeted close to 600 military personnel and their spouses at the recent Hiring Our Heroes Job Fair at Fort Bragg.

Catawba County was also well represented with HSM Solutions, Cargo Transporters, Inc., Catawba Valley Medical Center and NCWorks.

"The goal was to expand our outreach to another talent market and that is our transitioning military personnel who will be leaving the military within the next year and acquaint them to the local job opportunities and our community in Catawba County," said Danny Hearn, president of the Chamber.

This summit featured participation by and speakers from Fort Bragg, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Department of Labor Veterans Employment and Training Service, U.S. Army's Installation Management Command and Soldier for Life Program, the U.S. Department of Defense's Transition to Veterans Program Office, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the U. S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Hiring Our Heroes.

The two-day summit featured seminars, roundtables, panel events, recruiter training and facilitated discussion focused on improving competitive employment for service members and veterans in addition to networking opportunities for all involved.   This was followed the next day with a three-hour hiring fair with 70 exhibitors from throughout the country.  The Chamber and EDC shared a booth and gave out new MADE magazine, community material and a short survey to get their contact info and areas on interest in the private sector.

Nathan Huret with the EDC is compiling the survey information that will be used to further communicate with these soldiers transitioning out and matching them with the job openings available throughout the Hickory metro area.

"This summit provided us with direct access to service members who are 30/60/90 and 120 days away from transition to a civilian career.  I hope this will be one of many hiring fairs at area military bases that we could attend to reach this incredible talent pool of experienced service men and women that any employer would be proud to hire." Huret said.


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