In May of 2015, VA Homeless Program Coordinator, Shawn Dowling, encouraged Curt Behlow, VA Community Employment Coordinator (CEC), to organize a job fair at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System. Curt is a former Marine Corps Veteran that served during the Gulf War and co-founder of Hire MI Vet (HMV). Curt reached out and established a steering committee consisting of Michigan Ability Partners, the Homeless Veteran Reintegration Program (HVRP), VA Public Affairs, MI Works Southeast, and the Rotary Club of Ann Arbor. Through collaboration, the first Hire MI Vet (HMV) hiring event was held on November 3, 2015, on the Washtenaw Community College campus. The project aimed to secure and expand employment opportunities for all Veterans including homeless Veterans and Veterans at risk of homelessness by creating meaningful community relationships and exposing employers to the diverse skill sets and talents of these Veterans.
Shortly after the steering committee was established, Hire MI Vet decided to broaden its services beyond an annual hiring event by offering individual employment mentors and employer networking events called “Connect the Veteran.” By this time, the Hire MI Vet mission statement was established. It states that Hire MI Vet is a community initiative that helps Veterans gain meaningful employment.
In April of 2018, after much persistence and dedication, Don Deatrick, president of Hire MI Vet and co-chair of the steering committee, was the driving force that established Hire MI Vet as a 501(c)(3).
Today, Hire MI Vet continues in its mission by engaging Veterans that are unemployed or under-employed and offering top-notch quality services to help them find meaningful employment.