Louisville, KY -- Where Opportunity Knox, a regional initiative to connect 10,000 transitioning Veterans and/or military spouses to jobs and the Greater Louisville Region by 2017, announced that it has reached an initial milestone with more than 1,000 Veterans connected with employment opportunities throughout the region.
“We are excited to achieve this first milestone as we continue to grow awareness for this unique talent development initiative,” said Beth Avey, executive director of Where Opportunity Knox. “As part of our quarterly tracking with our 90+ participating employers, we know that 1,036 Veterans and Veteran spouses have been connected with employment opportunities in the Greater Louisville region since July 2014. And as we continue to expand our reach and base of participating employers seeking talent and Veterans seeking opportunities, we hope to grow these numbers significantly to hit our target of 10,000 Veterans by the end of 2017.”
Where Opportunity Knox, which launched in September 2014, is a unique regional initiative to connect transitioning Veterans and military spouses to jobs and the Greater Louisville region. While numerous employers throughout the country have made the commitment to hire Veterans, there is no geographic region that has taken on this challenge.
Approximately 130,000 Soldiers transition from active duty service annually through the Army Transition Assistance Program (SFL-TAP) which is headquartered at the U.S. Army Human Resources Command located at Fort Knox, Ky. With more than 3,000 of those transitioning Soldiers being from Fort Knox, Greater Louisville's 26-county region has a unique economic development opportunity to tap into this highly skilled Veteran talent like nowhere else in the nation. Proximity to Fort Knox makes the Greater Louisville region uniquely suited to become a Veteran talent magnet to meet the workforce needs of regional employers, while leveraging this proximity as a distinct competitive advantage for business retention, expansion and attraction.
This initiative is not a job placement service but instead is about developing a pipeline of transitioning Veterans who are looking for a post-military place to live and work – a place that values Veterans, offers a high-level quality of life and has a diverse and robust economy with available jobs and careers. Through a network of Regional Veteran Connectors (RVCs) and a host of knowledgeable volunteers, Where Opportunity Knox is making the connections Veterans need to find the right civilian job and the right civilian community. Where Opportunity Knox also provides an online resource for transitioning families to get information about the overall quality of life in the Greater Louisville Region including jobs, schools and more.
According to Sarah Holley, a former U.S. Army Captain and Logistics Officer who was recently hired by Kroger, “I think that Where Opportunity Know is a great initiative and will play a vital role in connecting Veterans with viable employment opportunities within the Greater Louisville area. Transitioning vets should use all of the resources available to them and Where Opportunity Knox should be at the top of that list. Civilian employers do not always understand the scope of responsibility and leadership positions people have early on in the military. The job search can be a long and frustrating process it is nice to have someone help along the way. The Regional Veteran Connectors (RVCs), typically retired military themselves who once faced the same transition process, help you put your best foot forward and really sell yourself to potential employers showcasing how valuable your military experience can be to their organization.”
“Where Opportunity Knox is the first region I’ve seen adopt an “all-inclusive” approach to recruiting Veteran talent, recognizing that while jobs are important, so are overall quality of life factors such as schools, healthcare, culture, sports and more,” added U.S. Army Colonel (Ret) Walter Herd and Director of the Army’s Transition Assistance Program. “They have the total package.”
Where Opportunity Knox is currently funded by the Duke Energy Foundation, the Gheens Foundation, the James Graham Brown Foundation and the Ogle Foundation. Kentucky Indiana Exchange (KIX), managed by three regional chambers of commerce including Greater Louisville Inc., the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce and One Southern Indiana, designed and implemented this initiative. For more information about Where Opportunity Knox and to learn more about hiring opportunities for Veterans, visit www.whereopportunityknox.com.