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Connecting veterans with jobs at UCSF

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Attracting veterans as employees is an important component of diversity recruiting, and at UCSF, recruiting veterans is a key part of the talent acquisition strategy. For the past four years, Talent Acquisition Manager Jessica Blair-Driessler has hosted an annual Veterans Open House and Job Fair. The event’s purpose is twofold: to allow veterans and military service members to get to know the UC San Francisco community and to build upon UC’s strong foundation of diversity and inclusion.

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“We hold the event strategically right around Veterans Day to show our solidarity with the veterans and appreciation for their service,” Blair-Driessler says.

Prior to organizing the job fair, she noticed that the campus wasn’t receiving many applicants from military veterans. She believed that this was due to a misperception that UCSF positions were limited to health care and faculty roles.

Today, departments throughout UCSF and UCSF Health contribute to the program’s success by hosting tables where they meet with veterans and overview the types of employment opportunities they typically have available. For the most recent event on Nov. 8, 2019, more than 30 internal departments participated alongside nearly 20 community partners.

Each year includes opening remarks from UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood, who welcomes guests, shares background information about the campus and highlights opportunities that may be appealing to veterans. Veterans also hear from a current UCSF employee who previously served in the military and can share personal insights about their transition and on-campus experience. The goal is to help veterans see themselves as potential employees — and to make them aware of the supportive community they will have access to as UCSF staff. Hiring leaders conduct panels and question and answer sessions to help attendees learn more about what to expect throughout the application process, what they’re looking for in ideal candidates and more.

The event’s goal is not only to connect veterans and recruiters with current job openings, but to build a continuing relationship with veterans. Blair-Driessler explains, “By leveraging social platforms and including a variety of veterans-focused community partners at the job fair, we are also able to connect veterans with a variety of resources that are designed to support them during their transition from military to civilian life.”

Blair-Driessler explains that the job fair is a point of pride and devotion for the staff who organize and manage it. Many staff members volunteer personal time to ensure its success. They even conduct fundraising within UCSF and UCSF Health departments to cover associated costs.

The event is promoted locally via social media, Eventbrite, jobfairs.com and community partnerships. They also conduct direct outreach to local military bases, including Travis Air Force Base in Vacaville, and send fliers to public organizations like schools and libraries, as well as UC alumni groups.

The job fair is “a labor of love” says Blair-Driessler. “The veterans have unique challenges that other job-seekers don’t normally have, and we really want to make sure that we communicate our commitment, in a variety of different ways, to employing them at UCSF.”

“It really takes a village for us to put this event together, and it’s successful because of our sheer commitment to diversity outreach. Our talent team makes a huge effort to ‘walk the walk’ when it comes to diversity at UCSF, and we’re really proud of that.”

Connect with UCSF HR.

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