Gov. Mark Dayton is focusing on veterans this week. On Tuesday, Dayton's left hand was busy signing things. He signed legislation that makes October Veterans' Voices Month in Minnesota, making the state the first in the country to devote an entire month to veterans and the issues that affect them.
The Minnesota Humanities Center, through its Veterans' Voices program, will help educate the public about veterans' experiences. Veterans will be encouraged to share their stories through art, essays and poetry.
On Tuesday, Minnesota also joined three other states in a pilot program that provides free hotel accommodations to veterans conducting job searches outside the regions where they live. Hilton Worldwide and the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) are partnering to offer the Hilton HHonors program to veterans and their families in Minnesota, Iowa, Texas and Arizona.
Under the new program, veterans who are searching for employment, attending job interviews or skills training, or are looking for new housing in Minnesota are eligible for three free nights at a Hilton hotel. According to Hilton Worldwide, the average hotel stay in the Twin Cities Metro Area costs about $200 per night, meaning veterans who are eligible for free hotel accommodations can save up to $600.
Veterans should contact their local Disabled Veterans Outreach Program specialist through the state's Department of Employment and Economic Development to enroll in the program. Once enrolled, veterans are eligible for 100,000 HHonors points per year. For more information, veterans can visit JoinHHonors.com or call 1-800-HHONORS.
On Wednesday, Dayton will thank hundreds of Minnesota employers for their commitment to hiring and supporting veterans. He'll be at the state's largest veterans' career fair in Brooklyn Center. Later, he'll give remarks at Cargill's Yellow Ribbon ceremony as the company declares its commitment to supporting military service members and their families.