Just registered for hireahero.org as a volunteer career coach. Since I'm apparently too damn old to serve - notice I didn't say anything about physical shape - this may be one of the few things I can do...

From About Us:

Hire A Hero is a non-profit initiative founded by the Armed Forces Support Foundation. The Armed Forces Support Foundation helps to keep the promise that military service has value and that those who serve our country deserve more than just a "thank you" for serving our country.

Hire A Hero brings together military job seekers and military friendly employers by utilizing web 2.0 networking features. Our technology facilitates service members re-introduction into the civilian world. Hire A Hero is a community for people who want to do more for the troops than put a yellow ribbon on their car. It allows people with a variety of backgrounds to participate in helping those with military experience find meaningful employment.

To date Hire A Hero has come in contact with over 190,000 service members and helped them transition back into the civilian world. 3 out of 10 service members (and their families) who are active in our community find meaningful employment through our services.

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Comment by Joshua Letourneau on September 13, 2008 at 10:34am
This is real cool of you to do this. I didn't know how to 'volunteer', but your post here led me to 'kind of' figure it out. I guess you have to join the group . . . which isn't very easy to figure out (well, for me, anyway).

Anyway, in all sincerity, thanks for this. My business partner and I were offering 'classes' at our local VA hospital . . . but we learned that the members that were coming to our presentations needed real 1-on-1 assistance. They needed that face-to-face time, because their challenges are extremely unique. Frankly, they need a vote of confidence because while many employers won't admit it, they often think discriminate under the following:

a. PTSD. I've heard HR reps (not so much Internal Recruiters, but literally HR Generalists) joking that they don't want a "crazy war veteran coming in with a gun".

b. Physical Disabilities. While PTSD isn't visible on the surface, missing a leg or arm . . . or being blind, etc. . . is.

Perhaps one of the most heated exchanges I've ever had with an internal HR rep (again, not a dedicated internal recruiter, but an HR rep filling in as a recruiter), was in regards to having a disabled vet show up for an interview that was on the 2nd floor. (Of course, the HR rep didn't know the female was missing her legs, which is important to mention). Well, when the candidate arrived, there was no elevator . . . so she told security she was here to see Ms. X at Company X. For the next 60 minutes, Ms. X (the HR rep) never came down to see the candidate . . . despite Security and the candidate calling from her cellphone.

I wasn't placing this candidate, but more trying to help her with resume and interview prep . . . so when I found out this happened, I picked up the phone and called. Obviously, the HR rep didn't like being asked why she left the candidate in the lobby area . . . so I spoke to the VP of HR . . . and then 2 days later, the President of the company. He was shocked and now the organization has a formal program to hire returning vets. This is pretty cool because the same candidate that was discriminated against at first wound up getting the job there . . . and of course, the HR rep moved on to a new company.

People always say that "1 person can't make a difference", but I disagree with that counter-productive, groupthink-driven, self-limiting mindset. One person can make a difference, and to a returning vet, all it takes is one person to offer a helping hand. Thanks for being that one person - you have my vote of respect for putting your money where your mouth is :)

Your new fellow Volunteer Career Coach,
Comment by Steve Levy on September 13, 2008 at 2:53pm
If it weren't for those who serve, does anyone really believe a Barack Obama would be running for President?
Comment by Steve Levy on September 14, 2008 at 11:35am
Josh- I suspect you might be doing this too...I'm a COI (Center of Inifluence) with Army recruiting (Navy and Marine too) meaning I help out my local recruiters with outside-the-box ideas as well as inside-the-box practicalities. Even more, since 2001 I've been helping to train the local fellows (all men so far) who have been accepted into the SEAL program - offering them bootcamp like experiences at Jones Beach from Memorial Day through ship date mid-August. How about you Josh? Are you doing anything like this in your local area?

Helping can be as simple as dropping in at your local recruiting station and letting the recruiters know that you're available to speak with parents to answer questions about service. Of course, it could also be reviewing practices, speaking with commanding officers, speaking to students...just be creative and use your experiences...
Comment by Joshua Letourneau on September 14, 2008 at 12:26pm
Steve, great ideas and I appreciate it. I have to look into this. To be honest, I've been trying to help where I can . . . but I often find myself trying to find time to find time (if you know what I mean).

P.S. We haven't met, but I like your work & writings . . . and I also like that you post things like this to get others thinking that they can give back, too. Maybe they give back to other good causes, but if more of us did that, I think we'd be doing our little part to make the world a slightly better place. Sincerely, thanks for setting an example here and I think it's really cool that you're willing to put your neck out there with your honest opinions and disruptively creative ideas. Your style makes for better and more engaging discussions. Yeah, some get offended, but that's never the goal - it's just that our 'online personas' look one way when we're very different people in person. Keep up the good work and I'll continue to stay tuned - I admit I always get a kick out of the things you post (as well as a few others who like to have fun and aren't afraid to assume a position) It makes for a fun industry. :)
Comment by Joshua Letourneau on September 14, 2008 at 12:34pm
P.S. I spoke to Earl Mann the other day and he mentioned potentially putting together a round table (I think he termed it something along the title of "Talent Warriors" or something like that).

I don't know all the details, but he mentioned it being about military-centric or former military members that now recruit (or serve in some kind of TA capacity, like sourcing or talent strategy, etc.)

Perhaps you can drop him a line if you're interested.?. (and/or I can link you 2 guys up.?.) I think you'd make for a key member in any discussions.


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