Gov. John Hickenlooper today announced a new resource, "Hire A Colorado Vet," offered by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) to help veterans connect with employment opportunities.
CDLE created a website, www.hireacoloradovet.gov, where veterans can post résumés, job-search and learn about new job postings before the general public. Additionally, employers are able to post job openings or search for qualified veteran applicants on this website.
Hire A Colorado Vet is part of an ongoing effort to increase employment and training services for Colorado's veterans. Last year, there were 390,000 veterans living in Colorado -- 21,000 of whom were unemployed and looking for work, bringing the annual average unemployment rate for this group to 9.5 percent. For Gulf War II-era veterans who served on active duty at any time since September 2001, the 2011 annual average unemployment rate was 10.2 percent.
"Veterans bring great job skills, values and experience to an employer. The Hire A Colorado Vet program allows our country's veterans to connect with employers. This program will help to ensure that when veterans return home they are welcomed, respected -- and employed," Hickenlooper said. "Employers who hire veterans will tell you they have made a real investment in their business with each hire."
The Department of Labor and Employment has Local Veteran Employment Representatives and Disabled Veterans Outreach Program Specialists at state- and county-run Workforce Centers across the state, ready to provide assistance in finding employment, acquiring skills and education and planning for their future. Last year, these job counselors -- who are themselves veterans -- assisted 56,207 veterans across Colorado. "Whether our services are delivered face-to-face or online, we are proud of our long-standing commitment to the men and women of the Armed Forces. Our approach is veterans helping veterans," says CDLE Executive Director Ellen Golombek. "With the "Hire a Colorado Vet' program, we are simply extending our outreach."
In addition to this new initiative, the U.S. Department of Labor has declared June American Job Fair month, and in June the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment will partner with the National Guard to launch a virtual job fair tool for National Guard service members throughout the state, particularly those returning from Afghanistan. This virtual job fair will partner with community, government and non-profit organizations to provide the first virtual job fair, designed specifically for National Guard service members and veterans.
"These efforts -- and more on the horizon -- are stepping up the important work of increasing quality employment opportunities for our military service members and veterans," said Maj. Gen. Michael Edwards, the Adjutant General for Colorado. "Businesses are looking for the best employees and veterans are ideal candidates. They adapt and learn quickly and they bring the right mind-set, a good attitude, a team spirit and personal attributes that all businesses are looking for."
Edwards suggests that all veterans looking for work visit the site, and he strongly urges employers with job openings to look into the candidates available there. "You'll find veterans there who will immediately add value to your operations. Equally important, when you put these men and women to work for your company you'll be contributing to Colorado's global competitiveness and the strength of our economic base," he said.
Hire A Colorado Vet.Gov is a free service of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. The website is a kind of military-to-private business pipeline, helping veterans and employers alike recognize how the skills gained in any of the branches of service can be readily applied in a wide range of civilian careers.