Job Fair Culminates Veterans Back-to-Work Boot Camp for Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce
In 2017, the Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce & Industry launched its Veterans Back-to-Work Boot Camp to offer specialized training and resources to U.S. military veterans to help them translate into civilian career positions. With the help and dedication of sponsors like Rivers Casino, the annual Veterans employment training program has become a resounding success.
The 2023 Veterans Back-to-Work Boot Camp culminates with a special career fair open to all job seekers from throughout the greater Chicagoland area. With the titled theme “Fall Into a New Career”, the job fair takes place Wednesday, November 1st on the 4th floor of the Des Plaines Public Library, located at 1501 Ellinwood Street.
The career fair is open to the public and job seekers are encouraged to bring several copies of their resume, as that companies who are actively looking to hire for important positions will be in attendance. Organization and funding for the job fair are thanks to Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Rivers Casino, Home Depot, American Legion Post 36, Harper Community College, Oakton Community College, and the Daily Herald Media Group.
From 3-4 PM, there will be a special reception that will allow all Veterans, their dependents, and spouses of active-duty military advanced exposure to hiring companies attending the career fair. Human resources personnel will then meet with job seekers from the general public from 4-6 PM.
Hiring personnel will be on hand seeking career-minded applicants in the following industries and disciplines: Accounting, Administration, Automotive, Customer Service, Hospitality, Financial, Logistics, Manufacturing, Medical, Management, Sales & Marketing, Information Technology (IT), and Security and Police.
This year, for the first time the Veterans Back-to-Work Boot Camp also has been expanded to include employment skills training for the spouses of active-duty military in addition to Veterans.
“Since we started the Back-to-Work Boot Camp we have helped over 150 Veterans to successfully transition into careers in the private sector,” says chamber executive director Andrea Biwer. “We realized that the spouses of active-duty military face unique challenges trying to establish a career based on where their husband or wife is stationed. This year we made the important step of adding help for these job seekers too.”
Over the course of the employment boot camp, candidates have received assistance with resume & interviewing preparation, techniques for marketing oneself on social media, communication styles, corporate culture, networking, and the keys to turning interviews into job offers. Each participant also receives a personal laptop and software package to carry them on to their new career position.
“The Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce and our membership are all focused on how we can help those who have done so much for our community and our country,” says Biwer. “One of the things we do is teach Veterans how to translate the valuable skills they learned in the military to real-world workplace applications. Once you unlock those secrets, the sky is the limit.”
The 2023 Veterans Boot Camp roster includes military veterans Erjon Morava, Dana Slusinski, Peter May, Eddy Portillo, August Negele, Sergio B. Ward, Christopher Henning, Vania Veit, Enkh-Orgil Sumberdariya, Sandra Cisneros, Jacob Sopoci, Keisler Taylor, Jung Lee, and Laurence George; and military spouses Louise Connor, Trixia Dabasol, Salynda Thomas, Lajeana Hurst, and Pernita Cerezo. They have been working with mentors, educators, and career consultants since September.
“We love, respect, and value all the affiliations of the military, including the spouses of those on active duty. Spouses face the unique challenge of having to find employment wherever their partner is stationed. The Back-to-Work Boot Camp gives them the tools to make that leap easy,” says Marne Deithorn, vice president of human resources of Rivers Casino – one of the chief sponsors of the Back-to-Work Boot Camp.
Deithorn is a former military member herself and was the first member of the business community to take a significant role in the Back-to-Work Boot Camp’s development, rollout, and continued operation after Biwer came up with the initial idea.
“Marne Deithorn is a great example of how when you properly apply military training to the civilian workforce, you can achieve fantastic success,” says Biwer of the Rivers Casino V.P.
Other proud sponsors of the 2023 Veteran’s Back-to-Work Boot Camp are American Legion Post 36, Harper College, Oakton College, Daily Herald Media Group, Driven Car Wash, Journal & Topics Media Group, Body & Brain Yoga & Tai Chi, Foxtail on the Lake Restaurant, and the Jessica and Timothy Canning Charitable Fund.
“Everyone who has given of themselves to our country, through direct or in-direct service, deserves the chance for a great career – earning a living doing something they enjoy and excel at,” says Biwer.
“The Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce is going to help as many Veterans and active-duty military spouses as we can. Our hope is that the overwhelming success of the Back-to-Work Boot Camp can be used as a template to help other communities offer similar programs,” concludes Biwer. “There should be a program like this to help everyone who needs to make this kind of employment transition.”
Job seekers can pre-register for the Fall Into a New Career Job Fair up to the day of the event on November 1st by going to the Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce & Industry website: www.dpchamber.com.
“Looking for a job is hard. We want to make that process as easy as possible for as many people as possible,” says Biwer.
“The Fall Into a New Career Job Fair is a place where serious applicants can establish a rapport with human resources professionals to hopefully begin the hiring process,” she continues. “We want everyone who wants to work to have the opportunity to do so in a rewarding position that celebrates their skills and their other unique qualities.”
For more information on the Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce & Industry and its programs and services including the Veterans Back-to-Work Boot Camp visit www.dpchamber.com.