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Hiring Our Heroes

Ballpark attracts JBLM job seekers

Northwest Guardian

Published: 02:57PM June 7th, 2018

Courtesy Photo

Current and former service members participate in the annual Hiring Our Heroes Job Fair at Safeco Field in Seattle June 1.

Nicolas Waruszewski, a specialist with 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, is about a year away from leaving the Army, but he’s not waiting until then to look for a career transition.

Waruszewski was one of many transitioning service members, veterans, retirees and family members learning about various career paths at the Hiring Our Heroes event at Seattle’s Safeco Field June 1.

On the main concourse of the stadium that hosts Major League Baseball’s Seattle Mariners, recruiters representing more than 100 companies were on hand to promote positions in the Pacific Northwest and across the country.

Although Waruszewski has some time left in the Army, he knows he wants to become a diesel mechanic. He spoke with companies like CarMax, Tesla and Perk Rentals.

“I found quite a few that I’m interested in as a mechanic,” Waruszewski said. “I connected with one (company) where I’m hoping to get an internship.”

Although he’s open to learn about various locations, Waruszewski said he’d rather stay in the area — especially since he just bought a house in Ashford, Wash., near Mount Rainier.

Recruiters from larger companies like Boeing, Microsoft and Starbucks were present.

Agencies like the Washington State Patrol were also there looking for quality job candidates. Various school districts were present, too.

Lori Liedes, a recruitment coordinator for Clover Park School District, was at the event to inform job seekers about opportunities. She said there is honestly something for everyone, from teaching to nursing, financial services, food and information technology.

“There are a lot of options in a school district, not just in a classroom; although that’s important, too,” Liedes said.

Elementary schools on JBLM are part of the Clover Park School District.

“(The staff) can connect with that student whose parents are deployed or they’ve moved around a lot,” Liedes said. “That is invaluable in any position — especially in the schools.”

JBLM’s Directorate of Personnel and Family Readiness also had a station on the concourse. Both the JBLM Soldier for Life - Transition Assistance Program and spouse-focused Employment Readiness Program have developed relationships with Hiring Our Heroes.

“For many years, Hiring Our Heroes has brought workshops, programs and hiring events to the JBLM area advantageous to all military in the job seeking process,” said Leslie Thomas, employment specialist for JBLM’s Employment Readiness Program.

On a side note, job seekers who attended the fair also received tickets to the Mariners’ game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

“Even if someone doesn’t necessarily want to go to the job fair, they can look at it that they’re going to the game,” Waruszewski said. “It pushes them to start looking for a job.”

Dean Siemon: 253-477-0235, @deansiemon