Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan
In the mountains of Afghanistan, in the deserts of Iraq, and all around the world, our men and women in uniform have risked their lives in defense of our security here at home. But when they return from their service overseas, too many are finding themselves on the unemployment line -- and that's a problem that needs to be solved.
That's why I'm proud to support the Veterans Hiring Fair happening in Detroit's Cobo Center this week. What a great chance to help veterans find jobs.
The good news is that there are, in fact, employment opportunities right here in Michigan for our veterans, but more has to be done to connect them with good paying jobs so they can begin new careers when their service is over.
Make no mistake, these are people with great leadership skills and incredible work ethic who would be valuable assets to employers. And businesses in Michigan have a great need for new talent to fill some 80,000 open positions, all of which can be found on MITalent.org. If we filled all those open jobs, we would drop our unemployment rate by over 2 percentage points. So why not hire veteran?
Some companies are doing just that. MLive reported this week on one such company -- Two Men and A Truck -- which likes to hire veterans for management positions because of the leadership skills they bring to the table. As their human resources director said, "We can train people on operations … but those leadership skills are invaluable and that's something that I find with our veterans in our system, they have those leadership skills. They can motivate a team."
That's great to hear, and there are even more employers like them. But why wait for veterans to return from service to help them find jobs? Using technology like Skype, soldiers overseas can pre-interview for open positions so they can have the security of knowing that work is waiting for them when they get home. That's a practice we should promote.
There are other things we can do to help our veterans be career ready, as well. Our returning veterans can prepare for a new career or sharpen their skills by pursuing college or vocational training at little or no cost under the Post 9-11 GI Bill. In addition, unemployed veterans between 35 and 60 years of age can enroll in training for one of more than 200 high-demand career options under the federal Veteran Retraining Assistance Program.
I encourage them to take advantage of these programs -- follow the links below to learn more about them. We owe a debt of gratitude to our veterans, and we want them to have the best opportunities to put their talents to work back home when they return to civilian life. That's good for them, it's good for our businesses, and it's good for Michigan.
Useful links on jobs, training and assistance:
Post-911 GI Bill, visit: http://www.gibill.va.gov/benefits/post_911_gibill/index.html
Veterans Retraining Assistance Program, visit: http://benefits.va.gov/vow/education.htm
Pure Michigan Talent Connect: http://www.mitalent.org/