By Zanetta Adams
As other departments across the state talk jobs, I want to take this opportunity to highlight the importance of hiring veterans and the work we’re doing to help veterans seeking employment. As a veteran, the wife of a veteran, and the mother of a military spouse, I understand the many struggles our service men and women face when they return home and seek employment. But I also know firsthand that there’s no better person to hire than a veteran. Veterans bring a sense of mission, a problem-solving mindset and a strong work ethic to the workplace. This week, I want to highlight some of our agency’s accomplishments that are helping veterans get good-paying jobs in Michigan.
At the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA), we recognize employers who commit to military veteran recruitment, training and retention practices through our Veteran-Friendly Employer (VFE) program. This program helps qualified organizations recruit and retain top veteran talent while providing others a road map to improve their recruitment efforts. Many state agencies are part of our VFE program, including the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) which is one of our newest gold-level VFEs. LARA’s commitment to former service members includes employing about 70 veterans, retaining more than 85% of veterans hired in the past few years and operating a veteran-specific orientation and a Veteran Liaison group in which employee veterans assist customers who are veterans. They are one of many state agencies in the VFE program and I’m so proud of the work they do to hire veterans.
We want Michigan to be the place veterans choose to live, work, raise a family and retire. I’m proud to work with Governor Whitmer to make that possible. This year, Governor Whitmer signed the “Even Exchange” law to remove barriers for veterans looking to get their commercial driver’s license (CDL) in Michigan. This law waives the driving test for veterans who have the requisite experience through specific Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) in the past year.
Last summer, Governor Whitmer signed a group of bipartisan bills to help veterans and their families continue their careers in Michigan by easing the process to get a professional license or certification in Michigan if they hold one in another state or country. This eased the transition and financial burden of picking up their jobs and moving to Michigan.
We also expanded the State of Michigan’s veterans’ preference program to benefit current state employees, veterans and active-duty service members looking to join the state’s ranks. This allows 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.
I am proud of the work we’re doing at the MVAA to make Michigan a great place for veterans and their families. If you’re a veteran seeking employment and don’t know where to start, please give us a call at 1-800-MICH-VET (1-800-642-4838). We are happy to help.