Strengthening local businesses by supporting our veteransI recently read a shocking and saddening statistic about our Hoosier veterans. Currently, the unemployment rate for veterans in Indiana is 20.1 percent – more than double the state’s unemployment rate, ranking Indiana 47th in the country.
We addressed quite a few bills this past session in order to help veterans. By granting in-state tuition rates for honorably discharged veterans and active Indiana National Guard members enrolled in state universities and colleges, the Indiana General Assembly made post-secondary education more affordable for veterans.
Laws were enacted to address the wait times and backlog when veterans go to receive their benefits. Now, training and a certification will be provided to local veterans’ service officers allowing them to have direct access to veterans’ records from the Veterans Administration.
Additionally, veterans with military emergency medical services experience will be able to be immediately licensed. This will keep veterans who are already trained in these services from having to get retrained.
But even with all of these new laws, we can still do more. Servicemen and women have made so many sacrifices for each of us in upholding our liberties and keeping us safe. Every veteran deserves the opportunity to work and provide for their family when they return home from duty.
One solution is for businesses to become Veteran Opportunity Partners. This initiative encourages businesses to hire veterans, and it is a simple process for the business. Businesses have to fill out an application that asks for basic information such as the company’s website, phone number, address, industry and a brief description of the company.
When a vet goes to apply for a job through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, these companies will show up in their searches. Companies are also searchable by region. State Farm, Kimball Office and Toyota Manufacturing are just some of the companies located in the Southeastern region of Indiana looking to hire veterans.
I encourage locally owned businesses to apply to join the Department of Veterans’ Affairs as a Veteran Opportunity Partner. A business listed as a Veteran Opportunity Partner shows veterans that the organization supports their service and recognizes the intangibles that a veteran brings to the workforce.
For more information on joining this program, please visit www.in.gov/dva/2689.htm or by calling the Department of Veterans’ Affairs at 1-800-400-4520. If you are a veteran looking for employment, feel free to use the job search on the Department of Veterans’ Affairs website at www.in.gov/dva/2696.htm.
I understand, first-hand, how difficult it can be to return home after deployment. Knowing that, the General Assembly is working to support veterans who are at home or abroad. I will continue to support our men and women in uniform and the opportunities that are available here in Indiana. Our state has become a leader in job growth, and I believe our veterans can keep our economy moving in the right direction.