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Opinion: Want to thank a veteran? Hire one

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When I ask veterans coming home from the battlefield or long deployments what they miss most or want to do first, their answers are often similar: spend time catching up with family; eat a big home-cooked meal; or relax and enjoy some down time.

But soon after, their thoughts turn to finding new careers back in the civilian world.

Good jobs are the gateway to a new life, with new challenges, accomplishments and rewards.
As our country’s major wars wind down, and those heroes return home in increasing numbers, the best way we can say “thank you” is with a new career.   

In January, Gov. Jay Nixon announced his Show-Me Heroes initiative. Its goal is to connect military veterans with job opportunities, to ensure that veterans receive preference in job referrals and to showcase Missouri businesses that pledge to hire veterans. The program is run by the Missouri Division of Workforce Development, in partnership with Missouri National Guard.

Businesses that take the Show-Me Heroes pledge are listed prominently on a state Web site that highlights veteran-friendly employers across Missouri. Employers get a certificate, signed by the governor, and a decal to display at their business.

The Show-Me Heroes Web site also features an employer directory and more resources for veterans. It is our goal to help all members of Missouri’s military community connect with our state’s outstanding employers to find the rewarding careers they deserve.
Veterans make exceptional employees. Many have had extensive, specialized training during their military service.

They also bring other key job skills such as discipline, leadership, teamwork, dedication and a strong work ethic.

Nearly 1,000 Missouri employers – large and small – have taken the pledge to hire veterans.
Although not all companies that have pledged their support have jobs available now, they recognize that our veterans are eager to work, and have real-world job experience and first-rate training.

The Show-Me Heroes program is backed up by a strong network of federal and state veterans’ programs, all working hard to repay our brave warriors for their service.

Missouri’s 40-plus career centers specialize in matching employers’ needs with veterans’ skills and talents, facilitating a smooth, successful transition from military to civilian life.
Each and every one of our veterans made profound sacrifices to protect freedom and
democracy around the world, and to keep us safe at home; many made the ultimate sacrifice.

The Show-Me Heroes program is one way to express our heartfelt gratitude. To sign up to be a program supporter, visit www.showmeheroes.mo.gov today.

Lt. Col. Alan Rohlfing is the director of the Show-Me Heroes initiative for the state of Missouri.[[In-content Ad]]

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