U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and George W. Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative Host Mission Transition Summit in Washington

June 25, 2015

President George W. Bush and U.S. Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue Led Summit on Employment Opportunities for Veterans and Military Families

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes (HOH) and the George W. Bush Institute’s (GWBI) Military Service Initiative yesterday hosted Mission Transition, a national summit focused on creating employment opportunities for post-9/11 veterans and military families.

President George W. Bush, former First Lady Laura Bush, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. James A. "Sandy" Winnefeld, Jr. were among more than two dozen private and public sector leaders who spoke throughout the day. Speakers focused on transition readiness, grassroots engagement, retention and collaboration between the private and public sectors.

“Hiring Our Heroes was built around a pretty simple idea—that we could honor the men and women who have served our country by connecting them with good jobs and putting them on fulfilling career paths,” said Donohue. “It has never really been a hard sell, because when employers do the math, they see that hiring these heroes is not only the right thing to do for our country, it’s the smart thing to do for their businesses.”

“America has overwhelmingly answered the call to support our veterans and military families with economic opportunities. Businesses have committed to hiring veterans, our government has made employment transition a priority, and non-profit organizations have emerged in this space like never before,” said Margaret Spellings, president of the George W. Bush Presidential Center. “However, while there have been many successes, it would be premature to declare victory, and to not sustain attention, resources and effort to this critical issue.”

The Mission Transition summit reinforced the importance of continuing collective efforts to address employment challenges facing post-9/11 veterans and military families. While positive trends in post-military employment have been encouraging, America will see significant numbers of service members transitioning from the military over the next 3-5 years.

To address these challenges, HOH and the GWBI Military Service Initiative revealed at the event the Veteran Employment Transition (VET) Roadmap, a comprehensive guide with resources and tips from the public and private sector to help transitioning service members navigate the shift from military to the civilian workforce.

“Hiring Our Heroes knows first-hand the incredible skills our military men and women possess when they leave the service, and the Chamber knows how much the private sector stands to benefit from those skills,” said Eric Eversole, vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and president of Hiring Our Heroes. “Tools like the VET Roadmap, which gathers together best-in-class resources and industry knowledge, are critical to not only smoothing the reintegration process for our veterans and military families, but making sure they have everything they need to continue serving this country.”

“We have made great gains in veteran employment over the past five years, but there is still work to be done,” said Colonel Miguel Howe, director of the Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative. “We must leverage the important lessons learned and best practices as we address the gaps that remain and better focus our effort, attention and resourcing going forward. By focusing on these areas in the coming year, and beyond, we will enable a generation of resourceful, determined, and experienced leaders for our businesses and communities for generations to come.”

The summit also marked a major milestone in the Hiring 500,000 Heroes campaign, a nationwide effort led by Hiring Our Heroes and Capital One. Since March 2012, the campaign has helped more than 2,000 businesses – large and small – hire half a million veterans and military spouses.

Hiring Our Heroes is a a nationwide initiative to help veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find meaningful employment. Working with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s vast network of state and local chambers and other strategic partners from the public, private and nonprofit sectors, Hiring Our Heroes has helped hundreds of thousands of veterans and military spouses find meaningful employment through more than 900 job fairs in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and Germany; a suite of free online career-based resources; and the Hiring 500,000 Heroes campaign.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness and educating the public on how the free enterprise system improves society and the economy.

The mission of the Bush Institute’s Military Service Initiative is to honor the service and sacrifice of all post-9/11 veterans by facilitating a successful transition and reintegration from military service to civilian life in order to improve their quality of life and develop their leadership potential. Through research, policy development, programs, and presidential recognition, MSI unites and empowers nonprofits, businesses, universities, philanthropic entities and others to effectively serve and support these veterans and their families in the transition areas of: employment, education, family services, health and wellness, housing and unique issues facing women.