Gov. Jay Inslee today signed an executive order aimed at boosting hiring of Washington's veterans. He was joined by state military leaders, veterans advocates and business leaders at the 2013 "Hire America's Heroes" symposium at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
"Through this executive order, we are increasing our collective efforts to make sure our veterans and their families share in Washington's prosperity. State government will lead the way, and serve as a model employer, and I'm asking leaders in the public and private sectors to support these efforts as well." said Governor Inslee.
Executive Order 13-01 includes several directives to make veteran hiring and contracting a higher priority for state agencies. It also strengthens collaboration between governmental organizations so services are more effectively and efficiently available to veteran employees. Under the executive order:
Each executive cabinet agency is directed to set a target of awarding five percent of procurement contracts to veteran-owned businesses and to develop annual veteran employment plans that include awarding equivalent experience obtained during military service.
A Washington Military Transition Council is formed to better take advantage of the federal VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 which promotes collaboration between the U.S. Department of Defense and other federal agencies with state, local, private, and non-profit partners to support transitioning service members.
The Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs (WSDVA) is directed to oversee a data sharing and warehouse agreement among state agencies that will improve agencies' abilities to ensure veterans and their families have full access to veterans benefits.
"Leaders in Washington State understand how important it is to serve our military personnel before they pass through the base gates for the last time," said Alfie Alvarado-Ramos, director of the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs. "This Executive Order along with Congress passing the VOW To Hire Heroes Act ensures each of these new veterans has a plan for what they will do when they leave the military and knows who they can count on in their own state if they need any help along the way. We've come a long way in supporting veterans as they transition from military life to civilian life and I'm excited to stand with Governor Inslee to put Washington's commitment on paper."
"The men and women that serve our nation and assist our communities deserve the same level of assistance when they depart from the military," said Major General Bret Daugherty, the state's adjutant general and commander of the Washington National Guard. "Our veterans possess unique skills that will truly benefit Washington employers. Throughout their military career, our veterans have received valuable job training -- and have developed into strong leaders and team players. I commend Governor Inslee for signing this executive order, which will provide the needed hand up our veterans deserve."