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"Hiring Heroes" Program Matches Injured Vets With Jobs

When wounded soldiers come home from Iraq and take off the uniform, it can be a difficult to resume their lives and find a job. That's why a Department of Defense program called “Hiring Heroes” i

When wounded soldiers come home from Iraq and take off the uniform, it can be a difficult to resume their lives and find a job.    That's why a Department of Defense program called “Hiring Heroes” is working to match injured vets with jobs. For the first time, the organization is bringing a career fair west of the Mississippi to San Diego. Full Focus reporter Heather Hill has the story.

Tomorrow military personnel with physical limitations from combat injuries will get their own career fair sponsored by the Pentagon. Hiring Heroes is bringing the first of job fair of its kind to the west coast, and it's taking place right here in San Diego.

Full Focus spoke with Patricia Bradshaw, the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Civilian Personnel Policy. She says the Department of Defense has a moral obligation to help disabled service members market their skills to non-military employers.

Bradshaw : A lot of young people don't know how to do that. You know, they've been an infantry man and they have been on the ground firing weapons. And so how do you take the skills that these individuals have really learned in terms of leadership and discipline. The military offers wonderful training in those areas but they don't know quite how to interpret it in a way that civilian employers understand what they've learned and what they've done.

70 recruiters representing government offices, non-profit agencies and private companies will be on hand to talk with job-seekers. The Disabled American Veterans is one organization that will be looking for new employees.

Leroy Acosta , Disabled American Veterans: Well, the thing that's really nice is I expect to see some really motivated service members, some really motivated people, and quite frankly, some surprised people who realize that hey, this is all out here for us. And I would just like to see a smile on a face and a satisfied veteran or service member that knows that there is alight at the end of the tunnel.

Other recruiters include Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, General Dynamics and law enforcement groups. Sponsors and recruiters agree the military can bring unique strengths and skills to the workforce.

Acosta : The military has already spent lots of money training these folks and now it is just a matter of taking this talent, and like in any company, giving them the specific skill set that they need in that particular industry. So I think employers very smartly see this as a talented cadre of individuals to help with their succession planning.

Acosta : When we get them it's just, they're great. They're veterans. They know where to be, they know when to show up on time, they know how to be in uniform, and they're ready to work which is really nice. Nothing against the civilian community at all, but the veterans are just really nice because they have a good work ethic.

The Hiring Heroes Career Fair will take place Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Officers' Club at MCAS Miramar.