TUCSON, Arizona – Finding good jobs for military veterans and their spouses just got easier this week thanks to a new program secured for our community by the Tucson Metro Chamber. Through the Chamber’s efforts, Tucson is one of three communities selected as a national pilot program using real-time data. In Tucson, the pilot will link them with southern Arizona employers in the aerospace and defense industry. The new Southern Arizona Veterans Workforce Initiative not only will help vets and their families, but also will bolster the burgeoning aerospace and defense industry here.
Job seekers and employers will connect with each other as well as with education and workforce development resources via the online program developed by Futures, Inc., at the request of the Department of Defense. Its expanded from an earlier effort, Hero2Hired. The website is http://aerospacejobs.usmilitarypipeline.com/.
Barbi Reuter, RPA, of Cushman & Wakefield|PICOR and board chair of the Chamber, said at a news conference today, “We are thrilled to kick off this very important Initiative. The Chamber’s mission is to champion an environment where business thrives and our community prospers. Our members tell us their biggest challenge is finding and retaining qualified workers and we’re addressing this head on. This critical program is a key example. I encourage businesses to go on line and get involved.”
The mobile-friendly site not only helps cross-walk military occupation codes (MOCs) with civilian skills, certifications and jobs, but also maps factors such as education, security clearances work experience, and job availability. Core tools for job seekers include searches for jobs and careers, a resumé builder, and a dashboard to manage the process. Employers will have a company landing page with job profiles, one-click applications tracking and a dashboard to connect with designated case managers. The system also can automatically route students to desired two- or four-year education programs.
“This effort involves many companies and organizations in our community in an outstanding partnership,” said Amber Smith, President and CEO of the Chamber. “A key factor in hiring veterans is ‘civilianizing’ their skills into skills companies can understand. In addition to my role here, I’m president of the Southern Arizona Defense Alliance. It’s exciting to me to find way to support our heroes while building our economy. We hope to use this technology to help our overall workforce development. Veteran focused now, and community driven for the future.”From cybersecurity to maintenance, repair and overhaul, the aerospace and defense industry is important in Arizona, which is home to more than 1,200 aerospace and defense companies with a payroll of nearly $5 billion.
“Labor drives all market decisions. The number one site selection criteria for any company to consider Tucson and southern Arizona for a relocation or expansion is: Can this community fill my talent needs?” said Joe Snell, president & CEO of Sun Corridor Inc. I applaud the Chamber for taking a very important leadership role in this.”
Employers in the aerospace and defense sector will find this new Initiative very valuable, according to Howard Stewart of AGM Container Controls and Chamber board member. “Technology and web portals, like the one being presented today, provide a great way for my company to find skilled individuals with high levels of work ethic. A challenge to many companies looking for skilled workers are soft skills (teamwork, leadership, collaboration). Military personnel develop strong soft skills so I know when I hire a veteran, they will work hard to get the job done.”
One of the Initiative’s collaborators is Pima Community College, which with the Chamber will host a face-to-face hiring event at Pima’s main campus, 1255 N. Stone Ave., Tucson, on Tuesday, Oct. 23 from 1 to 6 p.m.
“Pima Community College is excited to embark on this project with the Tucson Metro Chamber of Commerce, Futures Inc., regional employers, and our workforce and education partners in JTED and Arizona@Work Pima County,” Ian Roark, vice president of workforce development at the college, added. “In this time of intense competition and need in the labor market, it’s vital we match the skills that people in our workforce already possess to skills our employers require, and be prepared to close any remaining skills gaps with the education and training we at Pima Community College provide. The technology in this project will do just that for the highly skilled veterans who are also our students. We are excited about the increased job prospects for our veteran students in this first phase, and for all our students as we move forward.”
Marine Corps Veterans and Pima Student Nicholas Andres Figueroa said he is grateful for the all the new Initiative will provide.
“I’m proud to have served our country. But I was surprised at how hard it was to find a job in the civilian world. I discovered I’d need a degree and that technology jobs were the future. So, I went back to school. I thank the Chamber and this community for the huge difference this program will make in our lives and for our families. I now have a tool and a roadmap. And I know this will help me give my baby daughter a brighter future.”