Hi, my name is Dakota Meyer and I’m a retired U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant. As a veteran of the War in Afghanistan, I experienced firsthand the challenges facing military men and women as they attempt to return to civilian life upon completing active service. As we move towards the holidays and reflect on what we are thankful for, Toyota’s Hiring our Heroes initiative reminds us of the struggles that our troops face upon reentry to civilian life year-round.
I know I struggled to make the transition and would have benefited from additional resources and mentorship. That’s why I’m proud to partner with Toyota and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Hiring our Heroes, an ongoing initiative that supports returning troops and veterans making the transition from military to civilian jobs. As part of the partnership, we have launched a Personal Branding Initiative to help veterans understand the importance of personal branding and how to translate military skills to future employers.
The need for this type of program is clear. The unemployment rate for post 9-11 veterans is more than 12 percent, well above the national average of 8 percent. This doesn’t have to be the case; it shouldn’t be the case. After all, the men and women serving in the armed forces are among our nation’s most loyal, committed and hardworking individuals. As I quickly learned when I was seeking employment back in my home state of Kentucky, translating a military skill to a civilian skill isn’t always easy or possible. After all, how many companies do you know that have job openings for retired snipers? The hope is that by developing a brand of their own, veterans will be able to demonstrate the skills and attributes they would bring to a particular job.
The initiative also includes a personal branding guide that will be distributed to hundreds of thousands of veterans at the Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring our Heroes 400 job fairs nationwide. To date, the Chamber has hosted more than 230 hiring fairs in 48 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico helping more than 10,400 veterans and military spouses find employment. I’ll be on hand at select job fairs to meet with military personnel, veterans and their families, including one later this week in San Diego, California. Please be sure to stop by and say hello!
The guide will also be available online as part of a personal branding toolkit with unique versions for members of the Marines, Army, Navy, and Air Force.
Do you know someone who may be able to benefit from this great program?