Celebrating 5 Years of Hiring Veterans Through the Hiring Our Heroes Fellows Program

Veterans Support & Mental Health Care

Hiring Our Heroes has an extraordinary mission to help Veterans and military spouses gain experience and exposure in the civilian workforce. We’re honored to be part of that mission. 

Endeavors recently celebrated 5 years of partnering with our fellow nonprofit, Hiring Our Heroes, to help Veterans (and their spouses!) transition from military service to a fulfilling career in the civilian world! We’re deeply grateful for the work Hiring Our Heroes does to bridge the military-civilian gap, address Veteran and military spouse unemployment, and help the military community build lives of meaning after service. 

And we’re grateful that we get to partner with them to provide hands-on experience and professional training to transitioning service members and military spouses! Each year, Endeavors hosts Hiring Our Heroes Fellows in our offices across Texas to help them gain experience and exposure in the civilian workforce. 

At Endeavors, our goal is to help recently transitioned Veterans and military spouses build their careers by: 

  1. Exposing the Veteran or military spouse to a new profession in the civilian workforce and, for service members, help them transition from the military mindset.
  1. Ensuring there’s an opportunity for them to grow their career either at Endeavors or another organization in our network.

Why is it important for employers to hire Veterans and military spouses?

The first year after leaving military service is statistically the most difficult for service members. They experience higher rates of isolation, unemployment, homelessness, and suicidal thoughts and behavior. Competitive, and fulfilling employment can help minimize those challenges by providing steady income, a sense of community and purpose, and overall life satisfaction. 

Plus—Veterans bring massive value to any organization. Service members also receive advanced technical training, and participate in a trajectory of learning, leadership, and management skills that bring huge value to the civilian workplace. Leaving that skill and talent “on the table” is a huge miss for individual businesses and our collective workforce. 

“There’s a lot of misconceptions about people who serve in the military,” says former Hiring Our Heroes Fellow and current Deputy Chief of Human Resources, Feliece Murrell. “The military is the largest business in the world and we manage everything ourselves. From building bridges to plumbing, to electrical, to human resources, to open heart surgery.”

With mentorship and support, all of that skill is not just transferable to the civilian workforce – it can be an immense asset. Hiring Our Heroes is dedicated to building a pipeline for highly-qualified talent to find meaningful employment with civilian organizations. 

“Approximately 200,000 service members transition into the civilian workforce annually,” shares Tonna Williamson, Program Manager for the Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program. “These men and women have many of the soft skills employers are hiring for and, with the current tight labor market, employers may face challenges effectively identifying these candidates. Hiring Our Heroes works to make recruiting from the military community easy for participating host companies.”

Why do Veterans make great employees?

“Veterans are entrepreneurial,” Air Force Veteran Ben Miranda shares. Miranda, now Deputy Senior Director of Operational Business Development at Endeavors, elaborates: “It doesn’t mean that every Veteran wants to run and start a business. It means that Veterans have the same attributes as successful business owners.”

According to Miranda, Veterans demonstrate high levels of self-efficacy and a strong drive for achievement without needing to be micromanaged. Additionally, they’re often very comfortable with uncertainty and are adept at making good decisions under pressure. 

Veterans are adept at navigating diverse environments, Murrell adds. “[In the military,] you could be on a battlefield one day, and then tomorrow you could be sitting in front of a Dean of a college trying to build some type of partnership. You have to know how to communicate in both those types of environments.”

What does the Hiring Our Heroes fellowship process look like?

When Veteran Kametra Marzette registered with Hiring Our Heroes, she was immediately contacted by her personal fellowship coordinator. “That very first phone call that we had, she eased my mind so much because she was basically taking care of my internship for me. And it took such a load off me because I was still planning my retirement at the same time and finishing school.” 

Hiring Our Heroes took care of everything: sending out Marzette’s resume, advocating for her with employers, and fielding interview invites.

Marzette was invited to interview with multiple employers, and eventually decided she wanted to do her fellowship with Endeavors at our Cohen Clinic in El Paso. “I wanted to do something with helping people and, if possible, I wanted to stay close to the military community,” she says.

“I did a lot of shadowing!” Marzette’s mentor and supervisor during the internship arranged (with permission from her clients) for Kametra to sit in on her sessions. “I would just sit and listen. And then afterward, we would discuss scenarios like: If you were a clinician, what would you do? What would you say? She was really prepping me.” 

In the end, though, Marzette fell in love with the office’s outreach program, and today she is the Outreach Director for the Cohen Clinic in Killeen!

How does the Hiring Our Heroes fellowship help service members transition to the civilian workforce?

Together, Hiring Our Heroes and Endeavors strive to help service members and their spouses discover a career path that works for them. But don’t take our word for it! Take it from three Veterans who have found their new career through Hiring Our Heroes: 

“I was in the military for 20 years. So I’ve been so institutionalized just by the structure of the military. My coworkers at [Endeavors] really showed me that you have to learn to let the military structure go and keep an open mind because you’re dealing with a big population. In the military, I was working with active duty soldiers. Now I’m serving Veterans, spouses, and children.” – Lachrishua Walton, Case Manager for Veteran Supportive Services at Endeavors

“If you’re having a tough time with that transition, Hiring Our Heroes is definitely an organization to assist you,” Murrell says. “If it were not for Hiring Our Heroes, I would have never known what Endeavors does, and I wouldn’t be where I am today.” – Feliece Murrell, Deputy Chief of Human Resources at Endeavors

“If you’re thinking of doing an internship at the end of your military career, let Hiring Our Heroes carry the load.” – Kametra Marzette, Outreach Director, Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Endeavors

About Endeavors 

Endeavors is a longstanding national non-profit that provides an array of programs and services in support of children, families, Veterans, and those struggling with mental illness and other disabilities. Endeavors serves vulnerable people in crisis through innovative personalized services. For more information, please visit endeavors.orgCelebrating 5 Years of Hiring Veterans Through the Hiring Our Heroes Fellows Program

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