Where Opportunity Knox, an organization that seeks to help transitioning veterans find jobs, celebrated its one year anniversary recently and reports that they have connected 1,500 vets with employment opportunities.
Last year, Kentucky Indiana Exchange, managed by three regional chambers of commerce including Greater Louisville Inc., the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce and One Southern Indiana, launched this initiative with the goal of creating connections for 10,000 vets by the end of 2017.
While it may seem that 1,500 is falling short, according to Executive Director Beth Avey, “we are on track to meet our initial goal of 2,500 by the end of 2015. 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.”
The goal is to retain these mostly young, trained and talented individuals in the region. Many come from all over the company to serve in the military. Between 400 and 500 veterans transition out of Fort Campbell each month.
Where Opportunity Knox is not just about employment; they’re also trying to sell the quality of life of the area. U.S. Army Colonel (Ret) Walter Herd, director of the Army’s Transition Assistance Program, said: “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.” The organization has been recognized as a “best practice” at a conference of professionals in the Transition Assistance field.
The program currently works with 130 regional employers.