[Source: Panther Racing press release]
WASHINGTON, DC – (March 13, 2013) – Panther Racing Managing Partner and CEO John Barnes will testify in front of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Veterans Affairs tomorrow during a Congressional hearing entitled, “Lowering the Rate of Unemployment for the National Guard and Reserve – Are We Making Progress?” Barnes is slated to give an oral testimony in which he will highlight the success of Panther’s “Operation: Hire Our Guard” program, which educates business leaders about the benefits of employing National Guard Soldiers.
In 2012 Panther’s program provided Veterans exposure to approximately 9,300 job opportunities and – based on a conservative approach – as many as 4,300 National Guard soldiers have been employed as a result of the “Operation: Hire Our Guard” program.
“We have a responsibility to do everything we can to support our National Guard, and that means ensuring those who have served in uniform have the opportunity to provide for themselves and their family when they get home,” Barnes said. “When you consider the skill set and work experience that a Guardsmen can bring to your business, it’s a no-brainer to employ these men and women. We’ve found that companies that hire a National Guard soldier for the first time realize very quickly that it makes good business sense to hire more.”
Panther conducts its program on race morning at all domestic IndyCar Series events, and in select non-race markets throughout the country. The team invites local business and military leadership to its events and educates employers on the unemployment crisis and the benefits of hiring Veterans, and then makes the connections between the companies in attendance and local military leadership.
Panther has been hosting potential employers at IndyCar events since 2009 and its program has expanded each year courtesy of partnerships with TriWest Healthcare, ESGR, the White House (Joining Forces program) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Hiring our Heroes program).
“We’ve taken the most effective parts of many other successful employment programs and combined it with the platform we have as a professional race team,” Barnes explained. “High-level employers get to interact with National Guard soldiers and hear their stories and learn about the attributes and the value they bring to our communities, states and the Nation.”
Panther Racing has been a partner of the National Guard since 2008 and is currently preparing for the IndyCar Series season, which kicks off next weekend with the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The team’s driver is 25-year-old American JR Hildebrand, the 2011 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year.
Barnes is scheduled to testify at approximately 10 am (ET) at the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, DC. The hearing is available online via a webcast by visiting http://veterans.house.gov, clicking the “Hearings” tab at the top of the page and then following “113th Congress Hearings” in the drop-down menu.