Governor Steve Beshear today announced a statewide effort to connect returning members of the National Guard, Reserve and other veterans with job openings in the Commonwealth.
Joined by military, veteran, workforce and business leaders at the annual state convention of Disabled American Veterans, the Governor unveiled the Hiring Kentucky Heroes partnership and web resource that will bring together veterans seeking jobs with employers needing workers.
"After serving our country, many of these men and women return home to an uncertain future due to a tough job market," Gov. Beshear said. "It is now our turn to serve them. We are calling on Kentucky's employers to consider veterans for available positions. Because these are disciplined and skilled workers who display pride, leadership and professionalism, hiring Kentucky heroes makes good business sense. It is also the right thing to do for our veterans and their families."
Hiring Kentucky Heroes is a partnership of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet's Office of Employment and Training, the Kentucky Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), the Kentucky National Guard, the U.S. Department of Labor's Veterans' Employment and Training Service, the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Administration, the Kentucky Small Business Development Center and the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program.
The partnership brings together expertise and resources from each agency to focus on a statewide strategy to assist veterans and employers to accomplish their employment goals. The group is working to provide better access to training and education opportunities, state and national job banks, job fairs and hiring incentives.
While Kentucky has many resources for veterans through the various agencies, the Gov. Beshear said it's time to bring those components together for collaboration and coordination on the shared goal.
Originally designed to address a reported 25 percent unemployment rate for members of the Kentucky National Guard, the partnership was established this year to prepare veterans to find meaningful employment by capitalizing on their unique military education and training combined with acquired civilian works skills, physical abilities, demonstrated leadership and professional integrity.
Due to efforts of the collaboration, five employment assistance workshops have been conducted across the Commonwealth. Participants receive three days of concentrated assistance in translating military occupational skills and experience into marketable civilian skills, developing their resumes and conducting practice job interviews. The course ends with a job fair where some participants are hired immediately. More than 80 percent of participants report they have secured employment based on the training they have received. Four additional workshops are scheduled this year.
The Hiring Kentucky Heroes web portal, http://HiringKyHeroes.ky.gov, provides access to valuable information for both veterans and employers. Employers interested in hiring veterans are encouraged to visit the portal to learn more about tax credits, online job posting and resume search, registered apprenticeships and on-the-job training opportunities. Veteran job seekers will find education and training opportunities, as well as employment services and resources available in the Commonwealth.
Hiring Kentucky Heroes represents Gov. Beshear's continuing commitment to assist veterans with their education and job-seeking efforts. He has signed an array of legislation and has supported a number of initiatives to aid Kentucky service members, veterans and their families.
These include exempting active duty military personnel from paying Kentucky income tax; giving veterans preference in state hiring; providing veteran's designations on operator's licenses; giving disabled veterans and Wounded Warriors free accommodations at state parks; expanding use of the Military Family Assistance Trust Fund; opening new state-run veterans' cemeteries and creating the Kentucky Medal for Freedom to honor soldiers killed since 1991 on active duty.
In March, Gov. Beshear joined three of Kentucky's five living Medal of Honor recipients to unveil a bronze plaque listing the names of Kentucky's 60 Medal of Honor recipients. He also traveled overseas last August to visit troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.