County program will incorporate technical and leadership skills of veterans into county job pool

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

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Photo by Carl Dinse

The Metropolitan King County Council unanimously approved legislation today that will launch a new internship program to tap the skills and knowledge of veterans living in King County.

The HERO (Heroes Employment Reintegration Opportunity) Program is open to any military veteran who meets King County Veteran’s Program (KCVP) qualifications. After a competitive selection process, each participant will receive an hourly wage for 30 hours of work per week for six months. To better ensure their success, each intern will be matched to a King County employee who is also a veteran.

“Many veterans returning from conflicts and service abroad can struggle finding a job during these tough economic times,” said Councilmember Bob Ferguson, a sponsor of the legislation. “By providing internship opportunities, we are helping veterans translate their skills and experience in the military to a civilian work environment.”

The veterans will also be provided with a comprehensive support plan, including connections to other community resources for veterans. During and after their six-month stint, HERO participants will receive one-on-one assistance in writing their resume and searching for employment. They will also get help applying for any King County job openings they qualify for.

King County has about 137,000 veterans, and that number is increasing due to the presence of military installations like Joint Base Lewis McChord (JBLM) in Pierce County and Naval Base Kitsap in Bremerton. According to the human resources command at JBLM, about 6,000 servicemembers transition out of the base each year. Many of these new veterans stay in the Puget Sound region, so programs are needed to provide civilian reintegration opportunities.

The HERO Program is expected to start in January 2013 with its first group of interns. The program is projected to run through mid-2014, with about a dozen interns participating in each six-month session. Veterans who are interested in participating in the HERO Program can call 206-205-5859.


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