Top hospitality firms get on board to help returning veterans find jobs
Thousands of young men and women who served America in the military in Iraq and Afghanistan are now back in the USA and struggling to find work.
The estimated jobless rate among veterans ages 18-24 is 30%, while it is only 18% among civilians of the same age group, according to the Bureau of Labor. The recent withdrawal of US Troops from Iraq means that there are now even more veterans looking for civilian jobs than there were last year.
Several industry leaders have stepped up to help these brave men and women. One example is defense contractor CACI, who hires roughly 100 disabled veterans each year (about 4 percent of its workforce) “If we can get the Fortune 1000 to have the same percentage, 3 to 4 percent of their personnel are veterans, we would knock this issue of veterans’ unemployment on its head,” says Paul Cofoni, CEO of CACI.
Dennis P. Rizzo, CEO of Bentley Price Associates, Inc., knows this situation all too well. He is a Vietnam War Veteran and former Marine who faced the same challenges when he returned from service. A friend’s father had helped Rizzo get his first job in the hospitality field and, after returning from Vietnam, he was able to return to hospitality. He used the skills he learned in the Marines to turn the job into a career, and within a few short years he had worked his way up to an executive position as manager of the renowned Hyatt House on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood CA.
“I know firsthand how hard it can be to get a civilian employer to see the value of your military training,” says Rizzo. “But I also know that it is precisely those skills that made me a good hotel manager and a successful business owner. Ex-military people have skills you don’t learn anywhere else; and they make excellent employees.”
Rizzo agrees with the statement that if top companies hired vets the problem would be solved right away and to that end he has launched an initiative to get the main players in the hospitality industry on board.
Hospitality Heroes aims to get major hospitality companies to commit to interviewing and hiring returning veterans. He already has agreements from some of the biggest names in the industry. Rizzo’s firm, Bentley Price Associates, Inc., an executive search firm for the hospitality industry, will assist veterans who are interested in the hospitality field to prepare for their interviews.
Rizzo invites all hospitality industry executives, corporate- and property-level, representing resorts, casinos, hotels and restaurants, to contact him if they’d like to be a part of Hospitality Heroes. Call 805 686-1234
If you are a veteran looking for a job and have an interest in working in the hospitality field, send us your resume so we can add you to the Hospitality Heroes list of candidates. Be sure to tell us that you are a returning vet.