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Michigan expands veterans' preference program

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The State of Michigan veterans' preference program has been expanded to benefit current state employees as well as military retirees and active-duty service members looking to join the state's ranks.

The Civil Service Commission recently approved rule changes to allow state employees to use veterans' preference for promotional postings, active-duty service members to apply for veterans' preference prior to discharge and military retirees to apply for the preference program.

In addition, multiple forms of veterans' preference can now be used for a single state job posting. Previously, veterans' preference was limited to new state hires and only one form could be used per selection process. The program is open to veterans and eligible spouses.

"Michigan is proud to expand the veterans' preference program and help those who served our country in uniform find a good-paying, meaningful job continuing their public service," said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. "I'm proud of this program that helps the nearly 600,000 veterans and their family members in Michigan seamlessly enter the state workforce. The expansion we are announcing will continue to make Michigan a place that so many veterans choose to call home."

The changes will bolster the state workforce because of the value former service members bring to the job, said Zaneta Adams, Director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA). The MVAA, which championed the changes, is the state's central coordinating agency for Michigan's nearly 600,000 veterans and their families.

"Veterans bring a sense of mission, a problem-solving mindset and a strong work ethic to the workplace," Adams said, "and I'm excited by this effort to improve their standing in the state workforce. It's a key step in making Michigan the place veterans choose to live, raise a family, work and retire."

The Michigan Civil Service was created in 1941 and veterans' preference has been part of the commission since its first rulebook. Currently there are three forms of preference:

- Agency examinations. A 5% or 10% preference to scores of veterans and eligible spouses on passing scores for written exams can be used in selection decisions by agencies.
- Agency screening. A 5% or 10% preference to scores of veterans and eligible spouses for numerical screening processes can be used to decrease applicant pools.
- Random screening. Automatic advancement of veterans and eligible spouses when random or mechanical screening can be used to decrease applicant pools.

Civil Service rules also provide additional benefits to veterans and reservists, including seniority credit to allow earlier and increased longevity bonuses and higher annual-leave accrual rates and pay-differential benefits during qualifying training and activations.

Veterans' preference is applied for online through the same website used to apply for state jobs. An eligible veteran is a person who has 90 or more days of active-duty service in the U.S. armed forces and was honorably discharged.