Des Plaines Chamber Gives Thanks to Veterans and Military Spouses with Back-to-Work Boot Camp

The Des Plaines Chamber Veterans Back-to-Work Boot Camp has officially kicked off its 2023 application process for its free career employment program for military veterans and the spouses of active-duty personnel. This comes on the heels of Memorial Day Weekend, which itself honors the members of America's military services who lost their lives defending our country.

Recognizing that former military service people and spouses of active-duty military members that have been stationed in the Chicagoland area can have difficulty finding the right opportunity to transition into civilian work, the Veterans Boot Camp provides in-depth training, mentorship, networking opportunities, and job seeking tools including a personal laptop to qualified job seekers. All of this is free of charge to those selected for the program.

Since being founded in 2017 by chamber executive director Andrea Biwer, over the past six years the Boot Camp has helped over 150 veterans secure new careers outside of the military.

"The Boot Camp gave me priceless networking opportunities and the chance to meet companies that have a desire to hire veterans," notes Laura Johnstone, who was part of those selected for the very first Veterans Boot Camp in 2017. Thanks to the Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce & Industry Foundation's program, the proud Air Force veteran has gone on to a successful management career in the grocery industry.

This year, the program will select 15 veterans and 5 spouses of active-duty service people and provide them with the tools they need to not only succeed, but to truly thrive in the workforce. The inclusion of spouses of active military personnel stationed in the area is a new addition to this year's program and will add to the wonderful group dynamic of people looking to put in the work and take the steps necessary to change their lives.

"This year's program will broaden our reach to include spouses of Veterans as well," explains Marne Deithorn, vice president of human resources at Rivers Casino - one of the key business partners sponsoring the program with the Chamber. "The spouses of Veterans hold so much responsibility in military families. Expanding our program to include these men and women shows how much we value their contributions as well."

Applications for the 2023 Veterans Back-to-Work Boot Camp and additional information on the program and culminating career fair are available on the Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce & Industry interactive website at

"Each year the Des Plaines business community and the chamber of commerce come together with a focus on giving back to those who have served our country," says Biwer. "The Veterans Boot Camp is a testament to both the compassion and the intelligence of our area business. Military-trained professionals make some of the best long-term employees."

The 2023 Veterans Boot Camp is brought to you by the Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Rivers Casino, with additional support from American Legion Post 36, Harper College, Oakton College, Daily Herald Media Group, Journal & Topics Media Group, Planet Fitness, and Home Depot. New sponsors adding their support this year are The Foxtail on the Lake Restaurant / Jessica and Timothy Canning Charitable Fund.

"Our military men and women have sacrificed so much. It's our responsibility to assist them with a successful transition to fulfilling civilian careers which showcase their talents and contributions," adds Deithorn. "I am honored to represent Rivers Casino and its partnership with the Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce. As a mentor in the program and a Veteran myself, I'm so proud of what all our graduates have gone on to accomplish."

Each participant selected to participate in the program will receive:

* Personalized resume and interview training package

* Professional and personal development training

* Career coaching and mentoring

* The opportunity to attend exclusive networking events

* The opportunity to participate in a community service project that showcases their job skills

Those who complete the Veterans Back-to-Work Boot Camp and graduate in November will also receive:

* A high-end personal laptop, complete with Microsoft Office package

* Gift Card's to help them begin their Career path

* Additional products and services from the program's sponsors

The entire package is valued at over $10,000!

Although the program is brought to you by the Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce & Industry's Foundation and the training takes place in that area, applicants don't need to be Des Plaines residents as long as they can get there for the training sessions and events.

"We are committed to inclusivity and helping everyone we can," says Biwer. "The Veterans Back-to-Work Boot Camp is open to all former service people and the spouses of those on active duty in the area."

Following the 10-week training program, a career fair will be held at the Des Plaines Public Library. The event is open to all job seekers, however there will be a private pre-fair reception for all veterans and their families one hour before the show opens to the public. These special job fairs have historically led to employment for an impressive number of job applicants.

"Veterans make great employees because they are so well trained and well disciplined," concludes Biwer. "Veterans traditionally have a determination to get the job done no matter what the obstacles. That's a mentality that goes a long way in civilian life."

The application deadline is July 10, 2023.

For more information or to apply visit:

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