On May 26, we will observe the Memorial Day holiday, which gives us an opportunity to pause and remember those who are no longer with us, particularly those who made the ultimate sacrifice to our nation while serving in America's armed forces. I want to encourage you to attend one of the many observances that will occur across Nebraska in our local communities and help us honor the memories and sacrifices of our veterans. Their contributions to our country must not be forgotten.
As a veteran, I know how important it is to observe Memorial Day. Honoring our fallen comrades is an important tradition that sends powerful messages to our veterans and their families, our communities, and to those who continue to serve our nation.
It is important to honor our veterans when they return from service. One way is to help them find jobs as they reenter the work force. In 2012, the Nebraska Department of Labor joined with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to hold Hiring Our Heroes events throughout the state. This initiative has helped veterans all across the country find employment.
Additionally, we've teamed with business and veterans groups including the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Nebraska's businesses and others to promote "The Good Life for Veterans" jobs recruiting campaign. The Good Life for Veterans initiative builds upon the Hiring Our Heroes program.
Nebraska employers and other representatives are attending a series of military career fairs in several states for the purpose of bringing veterans to Nebraska. The next career event is being held at the Fort Carson employment fair in Colorado Springs, Colorado on May 22. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado had a higher number of unemployed veterans than Nebraska in 2013. Around a third of the states averaged veteran unemployment rates of 7 percent or above, including several states averaging above 10 percent.
The initiative began after a Nebraska Chamber survey found that more than half of nearly 450 private business survey respondents had experienced difficulty hiring qualified employees during the past year. More than 25 percent of respondents said a lack of available labor or skilled employees was the key issue limiting their growth. At the same time, employers have expressed their desire for the commitment, maturity and diversity that exists within the veteran population.
The Nebraska Chamber has established the website www.TheGoodLifeForVeterans.com to help share the initiative with out-of-state veterans, including former Nebraska residents. The site contains information about living and working in Nebraska, as well as veteran services, education, recreation and entertainment. The Department of Labor produced a video titled "Nebraska Hires Veterans" that can be found on the website and features veterans from across the country who have found good jobs in Nebraska. Additionally, the recruiting video can be found on the Department of Labor website, http://www.dol.nebraska.gov/NEHiresVets.cfm.
On behalf of all Nebraskans, I want to extend my deepest gratitude to all of the families of our service members for the sacrifice that they have made on behalf of our nation. I would also like to thank our veterans and their families, as well as all those current military members and families for the sacrifices they have made and continue to make on behalf of this great state and a grateful nation.