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Michigan’s Veteran-Friendly Employer program grows by 51%

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Photo of Director Adams speaking at podium

Michigan continued its successful effort to boost veteran employment by adding 113 companies and organizations to the state’s Veteran-Friendly Employer program in fiscal year 2019 – a 51 percent increase from the year before.

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist and Zaneta Adams, Director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, honored these employers today at the MVAA’s fifth annual Veteran-Friendly Employer Awards and Recognition Breakfast in East Lansing.

Veteran-Friendly Employers’ efforts to recruit and retain veteran talent reflect the commitment of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and her administration to fully support Michigan’s nearly 600,000 veterans and their families.

Established in 2013 as one of the nation’s most rigorous veteran-friendly initiatives, the Veteran-Friendly Employer (VFE) program now counts 334 employers who collectively employ more than 30,000 veterans.

“Our administration has made it clear that we value and support veterans in our state. Supporting, increasing and honoring the number of businesses that employ veterans is part of that mission,” Gilchrist said. “Veterans bring the skills, work ethic and strong values that employers need to make their businesses successful. The Veteran-Friendly Employer program is part of our commitment to ensure that veterans have a job waiting for them at home after they are done serving our nation.”

Through the VFE program, MVAA – the state’s central coordinating agency for veterans and their families – helps Michigan employers recruit, train and retain veteran talent. Employers are recognized for their efforts with Gold, Silver or Bronze-Level status based on numerous factors such as how many veterans they hire and whether they have a veteran-specific employee retention program and a veteran-specific career management program.

The number of Veteran-Friendly Employers has grown steadily each year since the program’s inception. Among the 334 VFEs are 10 Gold, 27 Silver and 297 Bronze-Level employers.

Just one employer joined the prestigious Gold-level ranks in 2019 – Peckham Inc. of Lansing, a nonprofit vocational rehabilitation organization.

Also recognized at today’s event was the Rising Star – an employer that goes above and beyond to hire, train and retain veterans, Michigan National Guard members and Reservists and military spouses.
Kellogg won the 2019 Rising Star Award. The Battle Creek-based company was recognized for efforts that included hosting national hiring events that match military talent with job opportunities and a fellowship program that allows active military members with less than six months remaining in service to spend 12 weeks working in an industry.

Adams, a disabled Army veteran and attorney who took over the helm of the MVAA in June, said the VFE program is part of the agency’s broader strategy to improve educational, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for all veterans and their families.

“We fully believe that the brave men and women who serve their state and nation in the armed forces are considered members for life,” Adams said. “The MVAA is committed to supporting these patriots and their families after they finish their service by breaking down the barriers they face in employment, education and health care. Our vision is to make Michigan the place veterans choose to live, raise a family, work and retire.”