Gov. Dave Heineman is promoting “The Good Life For Veterans” jobs recruiting campaign, focused on meeting Nebraska’s workforce needs by attracting military veterans and their families from other states to move to Nebraska.
The initiative is a partnership between state government and business and veterans groups plus the Nebraska Department of Labor and Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
“Employers like to hire veterans because our businesses are looking for skilled employees and veterans bring excellent skills to the workforce,” said Gov. Heineman. “Following active duty deployments, many servicemen and women are looking for employment and a place to call home. Nebraska’s diverse job opportunities combined with our high quality of life make our state a perfect location.”
Nebraska employers and other representatives have attended a series of military career fairs in several states, including a career expo in Lawton, Oklahoma in February and a Hiring Our Heroes career fair on Wednesday at Fort Riley in Junction City, Kansas. Nebraska will also have a presence at the Fort Carson employment fair in Colorado Springs, Colorado on May 22nd.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado had a higher number of unemployed veterans than Nebraska in 2013. Around a third of the states averaged veteran unemployment rates of 7 percent or above, including several states averaging above 10 percent.
The initiative began after a Nebraska Chamber of Commerce survey found that more than half of nearly 450 private business survey respondents had experienced difficulty hiring qualified employees during the past year. More than 25 percent said a lack of available labor or skilled employees was the key issue limiting their growth. Employers also expressed their desire for the commitment, maturity and diversity that exists within the veteran population.
“With Nebraska’s unemployment rate hovering around 3.7 percent, help wanted signs are plentiful all across our state,” said Nebraska Chamber of Commerce president Barry Kennedy. “Military veterans offer employers a wide array of skills, a strong work ethic and proven self-discipline. Moreover, they are mobile and willing to relocate for good opportunities. Nebraska’s presence at military jobs fairs is part of a focused strategy to expand our skilled labor force. We appreciate the attention devoted to this initiative by the governor and the Department of Labor.”
Veterans who have separated from the military are now eligible for in-state tuition at Nebraska’s state colleges and universities.
“We are excited to be part of this initiative that benefits both employers and veterans,” said Commissioner of Labor and Director of Economic Development Cathy Lang. “Nebraska consistently has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, so finding ways to attract new workers to our labor force is always a priority. Veterans and their families are welcomed by Nebraskans and our excellent employers.”
The Nebraska Chamber has established the website TheGoodLifeForVeterans.com to help share the initiative with out-of-state veterans, including former Nebraska residents.
The Good Life For Veterans initiative builds off of the recent Hire Our Heroes career hiring events being held throughout the state. Since the first event was held in Lincoln in April 2012, Hiring Our Heroes job fairs have been held in Omaha, Lincoln, Norfolk, Alliance, Holdrege, Papillion, Beatrice and Grand Island.