Minnesota firms should hire veterans

  • Article by: LEE ANDERSON
  • Updated: August 2, 2012 - 9:15 PM

Every company should view these talented young men and women as an untapped resource.

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On Thursday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and RecruitMilitary hosted a Hiring Our Heroes job fair at TCF Bank Stadium for veterans and military spouses. It came at a time when our state needs to recognize the critical issue facing the men and women who have defended our freedom.

The average unemployment rate for veterans who have served in our nation's military since Sept. 11, 2001, is 12.1 percent -- well above the national average of 8.2 percent. In Minnesota, more than one post-9/11 veteran out of five is without work.

In March 2011, the U.S. Chamber and the National Chamber Foundation launched the Hiring Our Heroes program to create a movement across America. With 225 hiring fairs in 48 states, more than 10,400 veterans and military spouses have gotten jobs. In Minnesota, many companies understand the value of hiring veterans -- Target, Prudential and 3M, to name a few. But there is much work to be done.

Every company should view these talented young men and women as an untapped resource. Minnesota needs to play a larger role in the nationwide campaign that Hiring Our Heroes represents and develop complementary local programs.

We must do a better job of helping service members prepare for the transition to the civilian workforce. How can we expect young men and women to raise their right hands for the all-volunteer force if, after serving our nation, they face a higher unemployment rate than that of their peers?

Thursday's hiring fair was just one step. If you are a business owner in Minnesota, you owe it to yourself, your business and your nation to figure out how you can welcome a veteran into your company. As chairman of APi Group and supporter of Hiring Our Heroes, we recognize it's not only the right thing to do -- it's the smart thing.

LEE ANDERSON

The writer is chairman of APi Group, a New Brighton company and a member of the Hiring Our Heroes Veterans Employment Advisory Council.

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