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Help recruit veterans to our community

Hickory Daily Record - 9/2/2017

In two weeks, from Friday, Sept. 15, to Sunday, Sept. 17, we will have the distinct honor of hosting up to 50 veterans and their families who are seeking stability and fulfillment in their next phase of life outside of the armed forces for a special weekend getaway we're calling "Welcome Home Hickory Metro."

This bold venture marks the beginning of what we envision will be a long-term sustained effort by the Catawba County Chamber, the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation and the NCWorks Career Center to recruit this population of highly coveted, highly talented individuals, to advocate for a community culture that is supportive and inclusive to veterans, and to serve as the platform to open doors, enabling local employers access to this valuable talent pool. Our ultimate vision of our "Welcome Home Hickory Metro" weekend is to create a pipeline of military talent relocating to Catawba County.

Seventeen employers, representing over 50 positions, have partnered with us and contributed generous sponsorship investment to make this vision a reality. Registered veterans will participate in a hiring event, where, unlike a traditional job fair, they will be pre-screened about their interests, as well as their professional expertise prior to their visit to match them with local employers for interviews on Saturday, Sept 16.

The careers are an important component of the veterans' transition, but quality of life and a sense of community are what will ultimately "sell" the Hickory Metro as the perfect spot for these veterans and their families. In addition to the hiring event, they and their families will have the opportunity to participate in all-expenses-paid community excursions throughout the weekend. These experiences include, but aren't limited to, fishing on Lake Hickory, enjoying family time in one of our great parks, exploring the Catawba Science Center, playing a round at one of our pristine golf courses, batting practice at LP Frans Stadium, and even sampling with friends at a local brewery or winery. In addition, all guests will receive a general community familiarization tour and have an exclusive invitation to a welcome celebration on Friday evening to meet other veterans who live and work in the community. We want them to see and feel what Catawba County can offer them, their spouses and their children. Review the full schedule at

All veteran registrants will receive a complimentary two-night hotel stay and a $50 gas card as reimbursement for transportation expense, in addition to group transportation while they are visiting. Complimentary child care is being offered on site for the hiring event and community tour by the YMCA of Catawba Valley to provide the opportunity for both the veteran and spouse to interview with local employers and explore the community.

How you can help:

Volunteer ? In order to pull off this bold effort, we need a company of volunteers that are willing to serve in various roles such as registration concierge, excursion host and greeter, to name a few. To sign up, visit

Make them feel welcome ? Do you have a marquee or sign that you can customize during the weekend of Sept. 15-17? Let's show them how much they are appreciated.

Offer a special military discount ? If you're willing to extend a special offer to these families during this weekend, we will publish it in their welcome packet. Email me the specifics of what you're willing to offer at

Are you a veteran currently working in our community? I want to connect with you and invite you to participate in this process in a special way. Will you email me at


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