We really value service to others and our veterans are the clearest example of people who have given of themselves in service to us all. On Veterans Day, we want to not only thank them for their service to our country, but also remind you of how Chamber members and the business community can help support Colorado veterans.
In 2011, we partnered with the University of Colorado Denver and launched Boots to Suits, a program that supports student veterans with mentorships, career advice and, of course, a suit to help prepare them for a career. The program continues to go strong – and graduated its largest class in 2019. We could not make this program happen without the support from Chamber members like Denver Health, Fidelity Investments and Lockheed Martin.
Rich Lewis of RTL Networks was one of the program’s first mentors. He served 10 years in the Air Force before launching his tech solutions firm. “I left for the Academy 14 days after graduating high school and for the first time in my adult life, I’m looking at civilian life, and it was a very frightening prospect,” he told the University of Colorado Denver. “You hear horror stories about corporate America … What is a merger? What does a salesperson or a marketing manager do? Everything was different, and I didn’t know the rules.”
Rich mentored Army veteran Tyler Heath, who in addition to completing his degree in 2012 has gone on to receive an MBA while working as an IT administrator. CU Denver wrote about their work together in the university’s City Stories blog.
Inspired by their experience? Learn more about mentoring here.
You can also help by committing to hire veterans. This is something many of our members already do, and for good reason. Veterans’ experiences and skills make them excellent additions to any team. The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment has a great guide for recruiting and hiring veterans.
We also want to empower veteran-owned businesses. Our Denver Metro Small Business Development Center invites veterans to attend business start-up programs at no charge. Please help us spread the word and encourage interested veterans to reach out for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re proud to honor our veterans, and we want to show them the same support and service they’ve given to all of us.
Thank you for joining us in these efforts.
Kelly Brough is the president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber.