Third Annual Veterans and Military Spouses Career Expo draws a crowd

More than 250 veterans and military spouses converged upon the Washington State Convention Center August 10 to take part in the Third Annual Working with our Troops Career Expo – an event cosponsored by the King County Veterans Program, WorkSource Seattle / King County, and the Washington State Convention Center.

In addition to King County, the employers in attendance included more than 120 major corporations, small businesses, and Federal, State, County and City agencies; including Amazon, Boeing, Starbucks, ThyssenKrupp, Tommy Bahama, Weyerhaeuser and first responders. King County was represented by the Human Resources Division, the Department of Natural Resources and Parks, Metro Transit and the Sheriff’s Office.

When asked why the County includes those who’ve served among the talent pools actively recruited from, Business Outreach Coordinator Rich Garmong of the King County Veterans Program said, “Because (we) understand the value veterans add to the workforce. The skills and discipline that veterans bring is in line with the Lean model that the County is moving to. Servicemembers have been working and training in elements of the Lean philosophy for several years, so the transition and mentality is built in.”

When asked why Amazon actively recruits military talent, Military Recruiting Manager Colby Williamson said, “Because of their people-leadership skills, their ability to deliver results, and their bias for action.” He added, “Last year, we hired Morgan Patty who – at the time – was a transitioning first lieutenant. She is now a leader on our military recruiting team.”

Detective Carrie McNally of the Seattle Police Department’s Recruiting Unit said S.P.D. is actively hiring military talent because of the dedication to serve, ability to lead, and follow direction and chain of command. “We also find that they have a high level of stress tolerance, conscientious work habits, excellent decision-making and communications skills and ability to work in a team environment.” S.P.D. is hiring about 100 officers each year for the next few years.

Brant Merritt, a store manager with Seattle-based Tommy Bahama, is hiring military talent because, “They have shown that they have a high attention to detail, and are flexible workers that will take on any task.”

Not all the tables were staffed by recruiters and human resources professionals. Weyerhaeuser was represented by three veterans from various non-HR functions. These ambassadors were able to connect on a personal level with the attendees and share their stories and experiences with those looking to join their team.

One of the County’s areas of focus for hiring was for the Vets 4 HIRE program, for which the County will hire 16 veterans this year. The Vets 4 HIRE Fellowship Program was created to support military service personnel and veterans in making a successful transition from military to civilian employment, and to provide a pipeline of skilled veteran talent for positions within King County. The program has been funded in part by the Veterans and Human Services Levy.

There were also one-to-one resume writing and review sessions tailored for the job seekers. Rich, who also managed the event, said volunteers from King County, WorkSource, Pacific Associates, The Washington National Guard, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Hire America’s Heroes and the Wounded Warrior project did remarkable work at the resume and interview support tables.

The Convention Center went above and beyond again this year (as they always have) by providing space and staff, reduced parking rates and IT support. They also provided boxed lunches for all.

Learn more about area services for veterans by visiting the County’s Veteran Programs, Vets 4 HIRE, and WorkSource sites.