The DuPont plant in Belle, W.Va., recently hosted a news conference for U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to announce that DuPont was the first national company to formally endorse the “I Hire Veterans Initiative.”
The initiative is the signature project of the bipartisan Congressional Veterans Jobs Caucus. Its main objective is for government to work with business and industry to help veterans secure employment after leaving the military.
“Smart businesses realize that it’s just common sense to hire veterans,” said Sen. Manchin. “They’re highly trained, extremely disciplined and focused – that’s why they make such excellent employees. Thankfully, there are smart businesses, like DuPont, that are stepping up and doing their part to end veterans’ unemployment in our nation.”
“I really appreciate how Sen. Manchin has embarked on his focus to hire veterans,” said Jim O’Connor, Belle site manager, who kicked off the media event. “Veterans fit well in our culture because of their training. Our safety core value depends on strong operational discipline; doing every job right every time. Personnel with military experience come to us with that training already firmly rooted in them.”
The Belle plant, which plans to hire 40-50 people during the next year, currently employs 42 veterans and active reservists. Four of those vets – Bob Goble, Jeremy Truman, Chris Gautier and Derek Spangler – participated in the media event and were recognized by Sen. Manchin.
"The scariest time in my whole life was making the transition to civilian life,” said Chris, plant security leader. “DuPont gave me an opportunity to work for them through their focus on hiring veterans."
Derek, a plant operator, was hired several months ago.
"When I first got out of the military, it was tough adjusting to civilian life,” he said. “Getting a job is important to adjusting. This initiative will help make that a little easier for others.”
“While DuPont has always put emphasis on hiring veterans, his announcement was very timely in that it came on the heels of the company announcing a commitment to make veterans 10 percent of the people we hire through the end of 2013,” Jim said. “Our Belle site intends to support that commitment.”
Prior to the news conference, Sen. Manchin took a facility tour with Belle plant leadership to learn more about the site operations and look at the various safety and process improvements made over the last several years. Following the tour, he met with about 20 employees to discuss his current legislative focus and respond to questions.