By Eric Brandner
Hire Heroes USA is about helping troops grow professionally. But when the organization was starting out, it needed help growing, too.
USO Vice President of Warrior and Family Care Susan Thomas was there to help Hire Heroes USA – through her work as head of USO Warrior and Family Care programming – build its presence and distribute its services to wounded, ill and injured troops transitioning to the civilian world. For her efforts, she’ll be honored with the Hire Heroes USA Pacesetter Award at the 2013 MedAssets Healthcare Business Conference on Wednesday in Las Vegas. MedAssets is a corporate benefactor of Hire Heroes USA.
“It’s been great to be part of the growth, to really see them have the ability to affect and impact more lives as it relates to veterans’ employment,” Thomas said. “It’s also nice to see that the collaboration between USO and Hire Heroes USA has really been a core impetus to that growth. We really do have that hand-in-glove relationship, where they have a very solid training program and we have the USO solid brand reputation and relationships with key military personnel.
“We’ve really been able to sync our efforts to expand our footprint together.”
The organizations will host 104 USO/Hire Heroes USA Transition Workshops and Career Opportunity Days around the country in 2013, expanding support to the general military population and military spouses. The Transition Workshops traditionally help wounded, ill and injured troops grasp employment challenges in the civilian world, assisting in everything from writing a resume to navigating the interview process, all in an attempt to build their hope and confidence. According to Thomas, 97 percent of participants surveyed say they’d recommend the workshops to others.
USO/Hire Heroes USA Career Opportunity Days feature local employers that help those same recovering troops with interviewing and networking skills. In some cases, those interactions lead to jobs.
The Pacesetter Award nominating letter – signed by Hire Heroes USA chief operating officer Nathan Smith – praised Thomas’ role in the expansion of the organization, which was founded in 2007.
“[Y]our professionalism, passion, advice and extraordinary support have helped Hire Heroes USA grow … to a nationally-recognized veteran service organization that makes a meaningful impact,” Smith wrote. “We would not be where we are today without your confidence and dedicated support.”
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Photo caption: USO Vice President of Warrior and Family Care Susan Thomas and her husband, Eric, pose on the red carpet Nov. 2 at the 2012 USO Gala in Washington. (USO photo by Mike Theiler)