'Boots to Suits' Helps Veterans Find Jobs

RALEIGH -- The Boots to Suits Conference aims to connect military veterans with businesses which are ready to hire.

U.S. Army veteran Sgt. 1st Class Tim Walker has been in the military for the past 29 years.

He attended the conference, which was held at NC State’s McKimmon Center at the end of March, trying to get his foot in the door of a different kind of career.

“I have been in so many years. I have a certain way. I have been taught how to do things,” he said. “Now, I am looking at making the transition of doing it the civilian way."

Walker was one of several veterans at the conference designed to help military members refine their resumes and network with businesses ready to hire vets. Fayetteville State University, NCOA and Hire Heroes USA partnered for the event.

"Military today have a wealth of knowledge. They are technically skilled. They have great leadership, much more than in years past," said NCOA Chairman of the Board of Directors, Ret. USMC Sgt. Maj. Paul W. Siverson.

At the conference, veteran transition specialists from Hire Heroes USA coached attendees on how they can stand out to employers.

"When they go to interview with that person or even at a job fair, just get out of standing at attention, being super serious. Be personable,” said transition specialist Andrew Workman. “That's some of things that we kind of help them along the way and coach them through all of that."

"We have companies like Starbucks, Walmart, Food Lion. They have their target on hiring veterans,” said Dr. Terri Moore Brown with Fayetteville State University.

This was the first year the Boots to Suits Conference included a job fair for recruiters to speak with veterans.