Former Marine Helps Heroes Get Hired

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 8, 2007 - A national program is working to help make it easier for veterans to find meaningful jobs.

"Hire A Hero," a program of the nonprofit California-based Armed Forces Support Foundation, can help take the frustration out of that process, Dan Caulfield, the program's executive director, said.

The program originated as a job program for National Guard members and their families. It was piloted in Georgia and Florida as a way for the National Guard to help recruit and retain members. Today, the Hire A Hero program has expanded across all branches and helps transitioning active military personnel, Guardsmen and reservists find jobs across all industries.

Unemployment among young military veterans can be up to three times as high as their civilian counterparts, he added.

"Even worse, the thing that's harder to prove is the underemployment of military veterans," he said.

There is no reason for this when the economy is dying for this type of quality work force, he added.

"They way we see it is, here are the people we've invested the most in to protect the American dream and they're not getting their fair share of the American dream," Caulfield said.

That's why the Hire A Hero program has stepped up to help veterans, like Michael Sinicrope, grab their piece of the pie.

Sinicrope, a former Marine, transitioned back into civilian life on Oct. 1 after serving his country for four years. During his service he worked as a parachute rigger and air delivery specialist.

"A few months after I transitioned out, my wife called me from work and told me about a program called Hire A Hero," he said in a letter to the organization. "In just 10 minutes I found a job that interested me, and I applied for it."

The employer, the Estancia La Jolla Resort and Spa in California, hired Sinicrope as a security agent soon after the interview.

"I believe my work ethic and everything about being a Marine has incorporated into my new job," he said. "My discipline and integrity gained while serving has also proven to be invaluable traits for what I do now."

Sinicrope said he'd recommend Hire A Hero to his fellow servicemembers preparing to re-enter civilian life. "The jobs are tailored to us, and the employers that use Hire A Hero are looking for people with military experience," he said.

The California National Guard also sees value in the program. On May 4, it signed a memorandum of understanding with Hire A Hero.

"It is important to us that our Guard members are provided with quality civilian employment opportunities," Army Maj. Gen. William H. Wade II, adjutant general of the California National Guard, said in a press release. "We have partnered with Hire A Hero to make sure that our members and their families are taken care of."

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