INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 14, 2013) - On Thursday, May 9th Panther Racing's Operation: Hire Our Guard continued, with Employer Outreach Tennessee.  It was an amazing day of immersion for Tennessee business and community leaders, shedding light on some of the biggest issues facing National Guard members.  The event showcased the skill level of our troops and Panther's mission to help them.

View the team’s Interactive Magazine HERE.

What is Operation: Hire Our Guard?
Operation: Hire Our Guard is a Panther Racing initiative to raise awareness and educate business leaders around the country about the increasing unemployment crisis facing our National Guard, with the ultimate goal of making the connections necessary between the military and business leaders to secure quality employment for National Guard Soldiers.

Unemployment is the No. 1 issue facing returning and demobilizing National Guard members and their families. Overall unemployment is 13% - as high as 30% for Veterans between 18-30 – and, in total, there are currently 65,000 unemployed National Guard members.

These goals will be accomplished through at-track programs during IndyCar Series race weekends, off-site and employer-outreach programs in states where IndyCar does not race and through nationwide promotional efforts. Operation: Hire Our Guard is conducted in collaboration with organizations and initiatives with similar goals, including TriWest Healthcare, Hiring Our Heroes (US Chamber of Commerce), Joining Forces (White House), ESGR and many others.

How is Panther Fighting Veteran Unemployment?
Employment Programs at IndyCar events:
Panther Racing collaborates with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the ESGR and each respective state’s National Guard to bring local business leaders to each IndyCar race to have them experience the Operation: Hire Our Guard program. The goal is raising awareness of the unemployment crisis, highlighting the benefits of hiring Veterans, making the necessary connections between local business and military leadership and getting businesses engaged in hiring fairs in their state to help Veterans and military spouses find meaningful employment. Panther Racing provides access to IndyCar activities throughout race weekend, and the race-day program sometimes includes up to 150 National Guard soldiers, potential speakers from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the White House, local employers, senior military officers and – at many events – Medal of Honor recipients.

Employer Outreach Programs in States without an IndyCar event:
In an effort to extend beyond states that host IndyCar events, and to reach areas of the country where the unemployment crisis is severe, Panther took its employment program on the road. Following a similar structure as the at-track programs, Panther hosts a single-day event so business leaders can attend and be home the same night. The event includes a behind-the-scenes look at military training and a ride in our IndyCar two-seater. Once that is complete attendees experience the same program highlighting the message regarding the unemployment crisis and how employers in attendance can address the problem.

Directing Employers to Hiring Fairs and Hero-2-Hired:
These two programs are amongst the most effective in combating the unemployment crisis. Some of the best hiring fairs have been organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes, where employers must prove they have actual positions available to be filled prior to participating.  Attendance is free to all veterans and their families and they can apply, interview, and accept a position at the hiring fair. We also fully support the programs that Heroes 2 Hired provides. H2H has great on-line programs where Veterans can find employment, and the results of this program are quickly proving it to be one of the most effective in existence.

Is Operation: Hire Our Guard Working?
In 2012 Panther Racing’s events provided Veterans exposure to approximately 9,300 job opportunities and, based on a conservative approach, potentially over 4,300 Guardsmen have been employed as a result of our program. While our employment program is a small dent in the 65,000 estimated unemployed Guardsmen, our efforts will increase in 2013 as our partnerships and programs expand.