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LARA becomes Michigan's 18th Gold-level Veteran-Friendly Employer

For its success in hiring and retaining military veterans, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) has been certified as a Gold-level Veteran-Friendly Employer by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA).

LARA becomes just the 18th employer in Michigan - and the fourth State of Michigan department - to achieve prestigious Gold status as a Veteran-Friendly Employer (VFE).

LARA's commitment to former service members includes employing about 70 veterans, retaining more than 85% of veterans hired in the past few years and operating a veteran-specific orientation and a Veteran Liaison group in which employee veterans assist customers who are veterans.

"We are proud to have earned this Gold-level recognition through a commitment to recognize and support veterans who work on our team," said LARA Director Orlene Hawks. "Through the Veteran-Friendly Employer program, we are able to join other forward-leading employers who share LARA's commitment to hiring, retaining and growing the careers of veterans. LARA extends that commitment to veterans coming to live and work in Michigan through our Veteran Reciprocity Initiative, which allows a transfer of certain licenses gained in other states to a comparable Michigan license creating a fast-track path to employment."

Established in 2013, the VFE program recognizes more than 400 employers with either Bronze-, Silver- or Gold-level status for their dedication to supporting veteran talent. Participants can network with other companies to share best practices and take advantage of free training to improve veteran outreach practices. In addition, veterans can more easily identify employers committed to hiring and supporting former service members in their workforces.

With the Gold-level certification, MVAA recognizes LARA's commitment to supporting veterans by understanding the unique and diverse skill sets and experience veterans bring to the workforce. MVAA is the central support agency for Michigan's nearly 600,000 veterans and their families, connecting them to benefits and resources.

"LARA has a proven track record of supporting veterans and I am pleased to see them become a Gold-level Veteran Friendly Employer," said MVAA Director Zaneta Adams. "Our veterans are equipped with valuable skills and abilities that make them excellent candidates and we are proud to see another state agency take notice. These efforts to elevate veteran workers are part of what makes Michigan a great place to live, raise a family, work and retire."

LARA's estimated 70 veteran employees represent about 4.4 percent of its workforce. In 2021, 10.6 percent of the department's new hires were veterans. LARA is the fourth state agency to receive Gold status, joining the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Michigan State Police (MSP).

To be recognized as gold, employers must retain at least 75 percent of veteran hires over the past 12 months, implement internal veteran support networks and create either a hiring rotation or leadership development program within their organization, in addition to meeting all other program requirements.