Historically veterans have been challenged with finding employment when transitioning to civilian life.
For some, their military training and skills may not directly transfer to the civilian sector. Others may have joined right out of high school without ever having to apply for employment outside of the armed forces.
There are a multitude of reasons, but the fact remains that getting hired isn’t always the easiest feat for those leaving the service.
That’s why one man has made it his life’s mission to get vets hired.
Oran Brown is a San Diego native who founded the company Vets Hired in 2012.
Vets Hired hosts career fairs every few months connecting local employers with veterans in the San Diego area, the most recent one was held on Feb. 10, at the Scottish Rite Center of San Diego.
A wide array of employers and professionals were in attendance including police departments, ambulatory services, companies that build railroad cars and even training and educational services offering veterans the skills required to compete in the job market.
“My job is to build a bridge and find those companies that want to support veterans and get those job seekers to the fairs,” said Brown. “In an effort to get their foot in the door with any opportunity, even entry-level, part-time, or apprenticeship. Once they get their foot in the door it gives them a platform to grow within the company.”
For decades, Brown has been doing his part to support economically challenged communities. His first effort was the founding a Black centered economic community magazine he started after leaving a professional golfing career.
“When I got off the golf tour I wanted to do something to give back to the community,” said Brown. “The goal was to profile Black business owners in the community because 99% of the businesses were shutting down after a year because of lack of financing or a lack of Black-on-Black support.”
Brown said once he recognizes a need in his community, he feels obligated to help. This is how he came up with idea to assist veterans in their transition to civilian life.
“My oldest brother graduated from college and went into the United States Marine Corps and after that, it was a good six months to nine months that he had significant challenges finding employment even being a college graduate,” said Brown
Brown again decided to do what he could to make sure others weren’t in the same situation. His magazine decided to host its first diversity career fair in their sixth year of operations.
“We had a lot of companies in San Diego that embraced that diversity component and wanted to come out and support the event,” said Brown. “So after hosting career fairs for a number of years and looking back at my family members who are all in the military I decided one day to put two and two together and start hosting some military job fairs for our veterans.”
For more than 10 years Brown has been successfully connecting veterans with employers looking to support and empower prior service members.
His company has hosted more than 256 job fairs, connecting over 25,000 attendees to more than 4,200 employers and there are no plans to stop.
Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Elisha Smith, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West