Tyrell Eddy met every qualification needed for the December 5th Hiring Our Heroes event: He is a veteran who served in the Air Force for four years as a police officer, and he is also a military spouse, with his wife currently stationed in the DC metro area. Tyrell had started training as a police officer for the Veterans Administration a few weeks before his wife received orders to move from Denver. As there weren't any openings available in DC, Tyrell was out of work, again.
Many military spouses understand the difficulty of moving your career every four years; Tyrell has the added background of having been there himself. "I got out for family. I went to Iraq and they were saying cops were going to have back-to-back deployments," he says. So while his wife continues her service with the aim of reaching retirement, Tyrell is getting the family settled -- he has two children to take care of, as well as a budding school career and his search for a full time job.
Tyrell's goals are very different from when he entered the military as an Airman in 2002. "I want to be a psychology professor," he says. "I love the classroom setting." He found the flier for the Hiring Our Heroes veteran hiring event while visiting George Mason University.
Tyrell's position is similar to many veterans and spouses -- according to the U.S. Labor Department, the unemployment rate for veterans was 6.6 percent in November 2012. Government agencies as well as non-profits and corporations are making an effort to increase hiring veterans, but do these events actually produce jobs, and what do you need to be successful?
Representatives from Mass Mutual were at the event to dispel the rumors. They emphasized that a bachelor's degree or advanced training were not required and appreciated veterans' work ethic, citing success with hiring veterans and spouses in the past. The vetted group of companies included: Dept of Justice, SAIC, Troop ID and Lockheed Martin.
""I hope to find at least one great management hire out of today's event. I have spoken to several veterans today that I will be following up with," said Tracy Hardaway, a recruiter for Potbelly Sandwich Shop. "In fact, I even spoke to a military spouse who has a background in Restaurant Management. We are a National Company and are expanding quickly, so if she needs to relocate, we may be able to place her."
The companies attending these events are well-educated on the challenges and benefits of the military life. Veteran workshops discussed telecommuting and job shares for those that could not take on a full-time position due to home responsibilities. They also seemed to understand the immediate desire for veterans that need work now.
Tyrell had two lengthy conversations with government agencies looking for police hires, and understood the military-speak that still slipped into Tyrell's vocabulary. Civilian companies at the Hiring Our Heroes event also seemed to be making the effort to understand the military community, and the benefits veterans can bring to a company. The nearly 100 employers at the event said all the right things about veteran hiring, but will the jobs come through? Tyrell promises to keep us updated on his progress. "I'm open to anything," he says.
Military.com is a partner with the US Chamber for Hiring Our Heroes events.