‘Heroes’ program seeks employers for mock interview event

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Hiring Our Heroes is seeking Colorado Springs employers to conduct mock interviews with service members participating in its Corporate Fellowship Program.

A joint effort between Hiring Our Heroes, the USO Pathfinder Program and Pikes Peak Workforce Center, the event will take place March 30 from 9 a.m.-noon at the PPWFC.

Through hands-on corporate training, mentoring and educational sessions, the 12-week Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program gives service members who are transitioning out of the military the skills they need to succeed in mid-level management in the civilian workforce.

In a typical fellowship class, 15-30 active duty service members — all in their last six months of service — are interviewed and matched with host companies.

“During the Corporate Fellowship Program, we spend time working with the Fellows on interview skills and techniques, but we’ve found that the opportunity to practice those skills in a mock interview setting with ‘real’ employers is the most valuable experience we can afford them,” Program Manager Lindsay Teplesky said in an email.

“[Job interviews] are the biggest thing that’s been missing for them, because they’ve been in the military,” she added. “So this gives them some practice and a confidence boost and the nice thing is all these employers are meeting 30 very eligible and qualified people, so if they just happen to meet someone they want to hire — even better.”

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Volunteer employers will interview candidates in 15-20 minute blocks with about five minutes for feedback.

“The more employers we have, the better,” Teplesky said.

The fellowship program has a national placement rate of 80 percent, and the national average for salaries is $70,000.

Through the program, participants learn about negotiating salary and benefits, professional certifications, resumés and interviews, and how to be resilient in the job-seeking process.

Teplesky said the fellows are a diverse group, with a variety of ranks, branches and skill sets represented. She emphasized the fellows are professional-level candidates.

“These are people with degrees, with master’s degrees, with high levels of experience under pressure — just not in the civilian work environment,” she said.

Fellowship graduates go on to positions typically requiring a bachelor’s degree, including IT and cyber, business development, talent management, program management, project engineering, data analysis and financial analysis.

Fort Carson is one of 12 military installations nationwide participating in the program, managed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Employers interested in participating in the mock interview event should contact Lindsay Teplesky at lteplesky@uschamber.com or 719-314-7127 by Feb. 28.

Learn more about how the Corporate Fellowship Program helps veterans in the Business Journal’s Jan. 19 story.