A MESSAGE FROM WEST VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS ASSISTANCE SECRETARY THOMPSONHire a Veteran in 2015
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – As we enter 2015 and resolve to make positive changes in various aspects of our lives, let us aspire to do more for veterans this year. January is a time of both reflection and preparation, thus an appropriate moment to explore areas of need among veterans in our state and nation.
Our veteran service officers and veteran social workers consistently report that in West Virginia veterans of all ages and their families are affected by financial hardship. Often, unemployment or underemployment is the root cause of this and, though unemployment rates among veterans have been on the decline, we must remain focused on ensuring every veteran is able to provide for his or her family.
According to the federal VA’s Office of Economic Opportunity, unemployment among veterans nationwide in 2014 averaged 5.3%. This is 1.3% lower than the previous year and 0.7% lower than the general population’s unemployment rate of 6%. It is my opinion that community based programs and partnerships between government organizations and other private and nonprofit businesses are to thank for these improvements.
The West Virginia Military Connection web site, www.wvmilitaryconnection.org
, has been helping veterans secure employment for approximately three years. This partnership between Workforce West Virginia, the WVDVA, and several other agencies operates as a one-stop-shop for veterans and their spouses in search of employment, employers who seek to hire veterans, and military personnel preparing to reenter civilian life.
Operation Opportunity, a recently launched initiative that also involves Workforce West Virginia, seeks to assist veterans in their employment searches by providing hotel accommodations when travel is required for training, job interviews or other related activities. The global hospitality company Hilton Worldwide is working with the state on this project and, I hope, is inspiring other business owners to consider creative ways they might help veterans and their spouses develop meaningful careers.
These are but a few examples of the many programs helping to secure jobs for veterans. I commend Workforce West Virginia and the numerous other agencies, businesses and organizations that have made veteran employment a priority and challenge you to continue your service to veterans in 2015.