On September 22nd and 23rd, Blackstone hosted its Second Annual Veterans Hiring Summit, designed to help hiring executives within corporations share best practices on attracting and recruiting veterans and to assist representatives from the U.S. military and government as they work in coordination with Blackstone portfolio companies.
At the Summit, Blackstone announced that over the past 15 months, Blackstone has hired more than 15,000 veterans across its portfolio companies in support of the White House’s “Joining Forces” initiative. In April of 2013, Blackstone committed to hire 50,000 veterans in five years across its over 70 portfolio companies. With 15,000 veterans hired to date, we are well on the way to meeting that goal. Please click here to watch the video, Blackstone Veterans Initiative: 15 Months In, 15 Thousand Hires, highlighting our efforts so far.
Formal discussions at the summit covered veteran hiring best practices across portfolio companies, skills training, government incentives and mentorship, as well as updates from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the White House’s “Joining Forces Initiative”. A special presentation was given by Mary Jane Hamilton, recipient of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation First Annual Veterans Grant, on her work at Texas A&M’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences providing support to military students as they access distance learning technologies to earn nursing degrees and enter the health care workforce as registered nurses.
The summit brought together Representatives from the White House, U.S. Military, Departments of Labor and Veterans Affairs, and Blackstone Portfolio Companies, with over 135 people in attendance and 25 participating in the roundtable. Distinguished guests included Steve Parker, Executive Director of Joining Forces at the Office of the First Lady, Curtis L. Coy, Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Stephanie Barna, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness and Force Management, Terry Gerton, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy at the Department of Labor, Rosye Cloud, Policy Director at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Frank DiGiovanni, Director of Force Readiness and Training at the Department of Defense, and Miguel Howe, Director of the Military Service Initiative at the George W. Bush Presidential Center.
In his keynote remarks on the USS Intrepid, Stephen A. Schwarzman, Blackstone’s Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder, said, “We have a unique opportunity to do right and follow through on our shared responsibility to honor the service of those who too often find that the doors of opportunity are not open to them in the civilian world. We all know that finding top talent is always an immensely difficult problem, and we should count ourselves as incredibly fortunate to bring so many of our nation’s finest onto our professional teams.”
Additionally, Blackstone is proud to announce that Sandy Ogg and Michael McDermott, both veterans and Blackstone employees, were awarded the Seven Seals Award by the Employer Support of The Guards and Reserve (ESGR) in recognition their achievement in support of the ESGR mission to, “develop and promote supportive work environments for service members in the Reserve Components through outreach, recognition, and educational opportunities that increase awareness of applicable laws and resolves employer conflicts between the service members and their employers.”