Oct-24-12 Christie Administration Supports Veteran Employment
Labor Department Joins “Hiring Our Heroes” Job-Fair in Flemington
"We’ve partnered with the U.S. Chamber before, and we’ll continue working with them and all of those who help employ our neighbors, family members and friends who served our country and are looking for work," said LWD Commissioner Harold J. Wirths. "Our returning military personnel shouldn’t have to fight the battle of unemployment when they come home. My department will continue to provide them with employment resources to find a job, improve their skills or discover a new career."
The Christie Administration first partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce last month in launching what the Chamber said was the largest "Hiring Our Heroes" job fair in the nation. Held at the Sun National Bank Center in Trenton, more than 700 veterans met with more than 120 employers ranging from large companies in the Garden State to small businesses and government agencies.
Today’s job fair in Flemington brought about 200 veterans, spouses and their families together with nearly 50 employers. Also in attendance with several local, state and federal officials was Michael L. Cunniff, the Adjutant General of the New Jersey Department of Military and Veteran Affairs and Catherine Starghill, the LWD’s Director of Workforce Field Services.
In March 2011, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Chamber Foundation launched "Hiring Our Heroes," a sustained grassroots campaign to help veterans and military spouses find meaningful employment in hundreds of communities across America. To date, the effort has resulted in more than 320 hiring fairs being hosted in 49 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, with more than 10,400 people being placed into jobs.
Among the other sponsors of the "Hiring Our Heroes" job fair in Flemington were the federal Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), the U.S. Department of Labor Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (DOL VETS); the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; NBC News and the office of Assemblywoman Donna Simon.
Participation in the event by Christie Administration officials is a continuation of its commitment to support New Jersey’s veterans. In his Fiscal Year 2013 budget, Governor Christie expanded the highly effective Veterans Haven program to serve veterans in the northern part of the state at the site of Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospital.
Governor Christie also signed various pieces of legislation to assist veterans, including:
- Strengthening the support network for military families after the death of a service member
- Establishing a program that awards high school diplomas to veterans who dropped out to serve in World War II, Korea and Vietnam
- Honoring Gold Star Families with a special license plate for families of members of the military killed in action for their sacrifice
- Establishing the New Jersey National Guard State Family Readiness Council Fund
- Ensuring funding for the Veteran to Veteran Peer Support Program telephone helpline
- Funding programs such as the Helmets to Hardhats effort through which the New Jersey Building and Construction Trades Council tries to put veterans back to work through apprenticeship programs.
In April the Christie Administration launched Operation: Hire a Jersey Hero at a symposium at Prudential Financial’s headquarters in Newark. The event focused on connecting employers who want to hire veterans with the state and federal agencies that can introduce them to former military people who need jobs and connect employers to incentive programs available to train veterans for civilian work.
In May, Operation: Hire a Jersey Hero continued when 350 veterans, along with spouses of active military service people, had an opportunity to attend a job fair on board the USS New Jersey in Camden, where 50 employers had a combined 2,800 available positions to offer the participating veterans.
In addition, First Lady Mary Pat Christie initiated the Heart of a Hero Scholarship through her New Jersey Heroes program to help military service members pursue a post-secondary education or vocational training. In August, she announced ten recipients of the Scholarship who received $10,000 each to assist in making their higher education and career goals a reality.
The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, which organized the Newark employer event and the New Jersey Battleship job fair, has served more than 16,000 veterans this past year at its 34 One-Stop Career Centers throughout the state.
Michael L. Cunniff, the Adjutant General of the New Jersey Department of Military and Veteran Affairs, (left) and Catherine Starghill, the LWD’s Director of Workforce Field Services (right) were among the state officials on hand to talk to veterans, their spouses and family members about employment opportunities.