A business in Pacific that has hired three military veterans in the past year under the Show-Me Heroes program is the recipient of the "Flag of Freedom" award from Gov. Jay Nixon. The Governor presented the designation to Graphic Packaging at a ceremony today.
"I am proud to award the Flag of Freedom award to a business that has made hiring veterans a priority," Gov. Nixon said. "Missouri's military veterans have served honorably, are well trained, and make excellent employees. I applaud Graphic Packaging for hiring three of these quality individuals. Show-Me Heroes is a great way to acknowledge the sacrifices made by the men and women of our armed services and help our veterans transition back to civilian life when they return home. Especially during this holiday season, I encourage more Missouri employers to join the ranks of those who have hired a veteran through the Show-Me Heroes program."
The Show-Me Heroes program, announced by the Governor in January 2010, is designed to connect military veterans with job opportunities when they return home from service. Administered by the Missouri Division of Workforce Development, Show-Me Heroes is a campaign to showcase Missouri businesses that are willing and eager to hire veterans. Employers participating in the Show-Me Heroes program sign a pledge to ramp up efforts to reach out to, recruit and interview veterans for job openings at their businesses.
So far, 1,702 Missouri employers have taken the Show-Me Heroes pledge and 989 veterans have been hired. The Governor was joined today by the director of the Show-Me Heroes program, Lt. Col. Alan Rohlfing of the Missouri National Guard, and by Julie Gibson, director of the Division of Workforce Development.
The award itself is a plaque featuring an American flag patch from the combat uniform of a member of the Missouri National Guard worn while that Citizen-Soldier or Airman was deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Employers who wish to participate in Show-Me Heroes can visit the state's Web site, MO.gov, to register and take the pledge. Once a company has done so, it is listed prominently in an online database that highlights veteran-friendly employers across Missouri. The database includes contact information for the businesses and links to their Web sites. Employers receive a special certificate, signed by the Governor, and a decal to display at their location. Beyond the employer directory, the Show-Me Heroes Web site also includes resources for job-seeking veterans, including links to employment openings in state government and a link to Missouri Career Source, a statewide one-stop-shop for Missourians looking for work.
"My administration remains committed to helping our veterans find jobs when they return home," Gov. Nixon said. "I ask every employer in Missouri to visit MO.gov today to take the Show-Me Heroes pledge so we can express our gratitude to Missouri's service men and women, while continuing to move our economy forward."
Show-Me Heroes is one of several measures the state has taken under Gov. Nixon to encourage veterans to live, work, and retire here in Missouri. In 2009, for example, the Governor signed legislation gradually phasing out the state tax on military retirement income. Under the new law, by 2016, military veterans will not pay any state taxes on military pensions.