Program serves transitioning veterans and/or spouses in Louisville area
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Sept. 21, 2015) — Where Opportunity Knox, a regional initiative with the goal to connect 10,000 transitioning veterans and/or military spouses to jobs in the Greater Louisville Region by the end of 2017, announced today that 1,445 veterans have been connected to employment opportunities in the first year of the program.
One year ago 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, launched the initiative. More than 130 participating employers have signed up to support the initiative.
“One of the advantages of hiring veterans is the key assets they bring to the table, especially soft skills,” said Shana Seng of Monument Chemical Kentucky in Brandenburg, one of Where Opportunity Knox’s newest employer partners. “We chose to participate in Where Opportunity Knox to gain further awareness of veteran skill sets, better understand how it transfers into our organization and increase our veteran outreach and hiring.”
In addition, more than 30 Veteran Network Builders—business professionals who have volunteered to help Veterans build their civilian networks—have been recruited and more than 100 human resource professionals have attended Where Opportunity Knox’s quarterly briefings and tours at Fort Knox.
Approximately 100,000 soldiers transition from active duty service annually through the Army Transition Assistance Program located at the U.S. Army Human Resources Command located at Fort Knox. With more than 3,000 of those transitioning soldiers stationed at 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.
“While our goal of 10,000 is still in the distance, we are on track to meet our initial goal of 2,500 by the end of 2015,” said Beth Avey, executive director of Where Opportunity Knox. “We are confident that we will hit 10,000 because of our unique competitive advantage that no other region can leverage — our proximity to and partnership with Fort Knox. In addition, we now are working closely with Fort Campbell to continue to expand our reach and tell the Greater Louisville Regional story in terms of quality of place and quality of opportunities.”
Approximately 400 to 500 soldiers transition from active duty each month from Fort Campbell, which lies on the Kentucky-Tennessee border between the towns of Hopkinsville, Ky. and Clarksville, Tenn.
“Army-wide 75 percent of these transitioning soldiers are ages 22-28 and the transitioning population at Fort Campbell mirrors this statistic, making Fort Campbell an ideal location to expand our direct outreach efforts,” Avery said.
Where Opportunity Knox 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. 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 and schools.
“Where Opportunity Knox is the first region I’ve seen adopt an ‘all-inclusive’ approach to recruiting veteran talent, making them a good model for other regions throughout the country,” said U.S. Army Colonel (Ret) Walter Herd, director of the Army’s Transition Assistance Program. “They have the total package and recognize that while jobs are important, so are overall quality of life factors such as schools, healthcare, culture, sports and more.”