9:55am

Sun June 17, 2012
Business and the Economy

State Launches Initiative to Hire Veterans

FRANKFORT – Gov. Steve Beshear Friday announced a statewide effort to connect returning members of the National Guard, Reserve and other veterans with job openings in Kentucky. Joined by military, veteran, workforce and business leaders at the annual state convention of Disabled American Veterans, Beshear unveiled the Hiring Kentucky Heroes partnership and web resource that will bring together veterans seeking jobs with employers needing workers.

“After serving our country, many of these men and women return home to an uncertain future due to a tough job market,” Beshear said in a statement released by his office. “It is now our turn to serve them. We are calling on Kentucky’s employers to consider veterans for available positions. Because these are disciplined and skilled workers who display pride, leadership and professionalism, hiring Kentucky heroes makes good business sense. It is also the right thing to do for our veterans and their families.”

Hiring Kentucky Heroes is a partnership of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet’s Office of Employment and Training, the Kentucky Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, the Kentucky National Guard, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Administration, the Kentucky Small Business Development Center and the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program.

The partnership brings together expertise and resources from each agency to focus on a statewide strategy to assist veterans and employers to accomplish their employment goals. The group is working to provide better access to training and education opportunities, state and national job banks, job fairs and hiring incentives, according to state news release.

While Kentucky has many resources for veterans through the various agencies, Beshear said it’s time to bring those components together for collaboration and coordination on the shared goal.

Originally designed to address a reported 25 percent unemployment rate for members of the Kentucky National Guard, the partnership was established this year to prepare veterans to find meaningful employment by capitalizing on their unique military education and training combined with acquired civilian works skills, physical abilities, demonstrated leadership and professional integrity.

Due to efforts of the collaboration, five employment assistance workshops have been conducted across the Commonwealth. Participants receive three days of concentrated assistance in translating military occupational skills and experience into marketable civilian skills, developing their resumes and conducting practice job interviews. The course ends with a job fair where some participants are hired immediately. More than 80 percent of participants report they have secured employment based on the training they have received. Four additional workshops are scheduled this year.

The Hiring Kentucky Heroes web portal, http://HiringKyHeroes.ky.gov, provides access to valuable information for both veterans and employers. Employers interested in hiring veterans are encouraged to visit the portal to learn more about tax credits, online job posting and resume search, registered apprenticeships and on-the-job training opportunities. Veteran job seekers will find education and training opportunities, as well as employment services and resources available in the state.