Service members who are considering leaving military service within the next 18 months have a great opportunity on April 27 to begin looking for a professional life after their service.

Fort Bragg’s Soldier for Life-Transition Assistance Program, in cooperation with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s, “Hiring our Heroes” initiative has more than 80 companies and organizations attending a hiring fair at Fort Bragg’s Iron Mike Conference Center.

“These are not just local jobs but jobs available throughout the U.S.,” said Tom McCollum, Fort Bragg Garrison’s public affairs officer. “There is a wide variety of employers coming here looking for potential employees who know how to lead, are task oriented, have a good work ethic and can be counted on, exactly what Fort Bragg service members have to offer.”

This is exactly why Ron Griffin, director of initiatives with the Transitioning Military Initiative will be there representing Bank of New York/Mellon.

“The bank has hired 20 veterans over the last nine months and found them to be exceptional employees, said Griffin. “They said they would be stupid not to send me down here. The 20 hired were not just officers but of all ranks, including specialists. The bank is not looking for someone with financial experiences but for people who have 85 percent of the characteristics they want and who can be trained for the remaining 15 percent. The characteristics that make up the 85 percent are team work, attention to detail, mission oriented, setting and reaching goals, accepting responsibility and personal discipline. Service members are exactly what they are looking for.”

In addition to service members, the summit is open to veterans and military spouses looking for a better job or new career.

The hiring fair is just one part of the Transition Summit. Throughout the week the summit offers workshops and briefings on how to prepare for interviews, how to highlight service members’ talents for civilian jobs and how to separate veterans from their civilian counterparts.

“The whole intent of the summit is focused on improving competitive employment, not just getting service members hired for minimum wages,” said McCollum. “Everyone who attends should not expect to leave with a job offer but with a contact who is truly interested in talking to them because they are interested in hiring them.”

“My job is to get you in front of a hiring manger to offer you a job you want to take,” added Griffin. “As a bank hiring manager once said, ‘I’m not going to hire you because you’re a veteran. I’m going to hire you because you’ll make us money.’”

For more information and to register for the workshops and training sessions, go to www.HiringOurHeroes.org/events.