A four-day campaign mounted by NBC News to raise awareness about the employment challenges facing U.S. military veterans concluded with a pledge from its own parent company to hire 1,000 of them.
The announcement was made Wednesday on NBC’s “Today” show by Brian Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast Corp., the media giant that is the parent company of NBC Universal (and also the owner of this Web site). Noting that there are 850,000 veterans “out of work today,” Roberts characterized the vets returning from deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq as a vital, untapped resource.
“I think that it’s clear that the leaders of tomorrow are the youth of today, and there’s no better youth of today than the people who have been fighting overseas and protecting our country,” he said in an interview with the “Today” show’s Ann Curry.
The value of hiring military veterans – who gain unique leadership and teamwork skills in both basic and advanced training (not to mention the crucible of battle) – was a recurring theme in this “Hiring Our Heroes” campaign on NBC.
The effort, for which NBC News joined forces with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, got underway last Sunday on “Weekend Today” and continued through Wednesday’s “Today” show. In between, special segments were produced and aired on other NBC News broadcasts, including “The NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” and Williams’ prime-time show, “Rock Center.”
During Wednesday’s “Today” show, Curry was stationed at a job fair for veterans that was staged on board the U.S.S. Intrepid, the historic World War II-era aircraft carrier that is now a floating museum on the west side of Manhattan.
In addition to thousands of vets who attended the job fair, Curry was joined by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden and an advocate for veteran employment. “These men and women are leaders,” Dr. Biden said in an interview with Curry. “They have true grit. If you want to get the job done, hire the vet.”
One of the points made repeatedly during the four-day “Hiring Our Heroes” campaign was the value of veterans and what these men and women can contribute to a wide variety of companies and organizations.
And no one made the point more clearly than a veteran of NBC News, former “Nightly News” anchor Tom Brokaw. He presented a report earlier in the week on the tough employment situation facing veterans who are returning to a stagnant civilian economy, and looking for jobs as they leave active duty.
Naturally, Brokaw’s report took the World War II generation into account, using them as an illustration of how vets have been leaders in war as well as peace in our nation’s history. He even likened the “Greatest Generation” of WWII, who he wrote about in his landmark 1998 book (“The Greatest Generation”), to the current generation of Afghanistan and Iraq war vets, who he feels possess the same potential as the WWII-era vets.
NBC News produced a slew of material for the “Hiring Our Heroes” campaign this week. In this next clip, Curry interviewed vets who were in the hunt for new jobs at the Intrepid Job Fair, where more than 100 businesses set up booths and tables to meet vets, collect resumes and talk about their futures.
While Curry broadcast from the “Hiring Our Heroes” Job Fair in New York, other job fairs were going on elsewhere, including two in Fort Hood, Texas, and Chicago. In this clip, Curry introduces reports from both of those job fairs on Wednesday’s “Today” show.
Who else is pledging to hire U.S. military veterans? The city of New York, for one. That’s the word from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who talked to Ann Curry on the Intrepid this past Wednesday.