The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce is launching its own hiring program to help veterans.

While there are many organizations and programs designed to address the issue of veteran unemployment, the Minnesota Chamber believes its brand and its connection to its 2,300 members make it suited to identify unfilled jobs and employment needs.

The chamber will be sponsoring a Hiring Our Heroes job fair on Feb. 12 at the Xcel Energy Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

An employment workshop is planned beginning at 9:30 a.m., and one-on-one mentoring sessions throughout the day will focus on résumé building, résumé writing, and interviewing techniques.

Potential employers or military job seekers can register or get more information at

The initiative particularly focuses on Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. In many parts of Minnesota, 15 to 25 percent of the veteran population between 18 and 34 years old go through extended and frustrating job searches.

The chamber hopes to identify potential employers and help them adopt goals for hiring veterans. It plans to follow up with companies to make sure they stay on track.

It’s not just a “thank you for your service” effort. Minnesota needs workers at all skill levels because the workforce is expected to slow through 2030.

The military has more than 6,500 jobs across more than 100 areas and over 80 percent have a direct civilian equivalent, said Ted Daley, a veteran and former state senator who is overseeing the chamber’s Hiring Minnesota Heroes program.

The chief funder of the initiative is New Brighton-based APi Group. APi, the parent company to 40 fire protection, industrial and specialty construction programs, has developed its own aggressive veteran hiring program, particularly for potential future leaders of the company.

Its Veterans Rotational Program allows vets to experience seven of APi’s companies in seven weeks and to make a decision about which might be the best fit afterward.