Toyota Motor Sales USA has launched a new ‘Hire*A*Hero’ programme to help members of the military find jobs at its Toyota and Lexus dealerships.

Hire*A*Hero is open to all of the service branches, including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and National Guard. It allows members of the military to search specific areas of the country for employment information at more than 1,400 dealerships, and at both corporate and manufacturing facilities.

The web site is accessible from both Toyota and Lexus websites and will also be linked from various member-support web sites associated with the military branches.

Nearly 600 jobs were listed at the Hire*A*Hero Web site when launched. Openings include sales staff, service technicians and front-office support staff.

“With the auto industry currently facing a shortage of highly skilled automotive technicians – as many as 60,000 by some estimates – military veterans often have technical experience and training that can translate into the civilian workplace,” Toyota said in a statement.

“Our dealers have found that the men and women of the US military make up one of the best talent pools in America,” said Don Esmond, senior vice president of Toyota Motor Sales, who was a Marine Corps helicopter pilot in Vietnam. “Toyota and Lexus dealerships employ more than 100,000 people across the nation, and at any one time there are more than 1,000 job openings. It can be difficult transitioning back into the civilian workplace, and we want to make sure veterans are aware of what’s available.”

Toyota also recently announced the introduction of a five-year, $1.25 million endowment to the Marine Scholarship Foundation.  The scholarships are earmarked for the children of current and former Marines, with special attention to children whose parents were killed or wounded in action.