Colorado Springs city leaders want local businesses to hire our heroes

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.– For the first time in years, Colorado Springs has more jobs available than the number of people looking for employment. City officials are asking businesses to give those positions to veterans.

Mayor John Suthers, the Regional Business Alliance and the Military and Veterans Affairs for the El Pomar Foundation are behind the effort. They said the Pikes Peak region has over 19,000 businesses and last month there were more than 14,000 positions open.

The group said their goal is to have 500 of those openings filled by veterans by Nov. 23, the end of Armed Services Appreciation month.

Mayor Suthers said every month, 1,000 people complete their duties in the military and become a Colorado Springs resident looking for work, but these organizations say it can often be hard for veterans to transition back into the workforce.

“When you know that your service is coming to an end, there’s a lot going through your mind,” said Vice President of Military and Vet Affairs for the El Pomar Foundation Terrance McWilliams.

This group believes the stress of searching for a job shouldn’t be put on soldiers, so they’re encouraging the community to hire our heroes.

“The military is so much a part of the fabric of our community, and we want to embrace these individuals who have made such an incredible sacrifice for our country,” Mayor Suthers said. “If they want to live here, we want them here.”

Many companies are already on board with bringing in veterans, but the group said newer employers don’t realize what they’re missing out on. Plus, it can be difficult for a veteran to convey their qualities during an interview.

“Most of our public employers, like the city of Colorado Springs, have veterans preferences. I encourage that, I really do,” Mayor Suthers said.

In fact, at least 17 percent of city employees are veterans, and these groups are hoping others will follow suit.

“These are loyal employees. They’re dedicated employees. They understand teamwork, that’s what their military experience is all about,” Mayor Suthers said.

“They’ve done their job and when they come home and leave the military service, that’s when the community, we as a society, need to step up to the plate and do our part in helping our young veterans and their families,” McWilliams said.

Businesses with open positions that are interested in helping get our veterans a job can e-mail their company’s name, a point of contact, and phone number to HireAVet@CSRBA.com

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