Ten State of Michigan departments or departmental units have been certified as Veteran-Friendly Employers through the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA), representing more than half of all state departments.
The Department of Environmental, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) recently became the third state department certified as a Veteran-Friendly Employer in 2020 alone, joining the departments of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) and Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB).
Since the MVAA launched the Veteran-Friendly Employer (VFE) Program in 2013 as one of the nation’s most rigorous veteran-focused initiatives, 10 state departments or units have been certified among 18 total state departments. The State of Michigan employs nearly 4,000 veterans, representing 7.3% of its workforce.
Employers in the VFE program are vetted and recognized for their commitment to recruiting, training and retaining veterans. All told, nearly 400 private and public employers across the state are certified as either Bronze-, Silver- or Gold-level Veteran-Friendly Employers.
“Our veterans put their lives on the line for our families, and we must ensure that they have the support they need here at home,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “That’s why the State of Michigan is taking crucial steps to ensure our veterans can get connected to good jobs in our departments. As we approach Veterans Day, I want to thank all of those who have served our state and the family members and loved ones who have supported our veterans.”
The VFE program is part of the MVAA’s broader strategy to improve employment, educational, entrepreneurial and other quality-of-life opportunities for Michigan’s 552,000 veterans and their families. As the state’s one-stop coordinating agency for veterans, the MVAA is available 24/7 at 1-800-MICH-VET.
“Veterans bring special skillsets, a strong work ethic and values to the workplace that employers need to help make their operations successful,” said MVAA Director Zaneta Adams. “The MVAA applauds the growing list of state departments for recognizing the value of hiring veterans and is committed to working with even more Michigan employers – public and private alike – to help them grow their veteran workforces.”
Two state departments have achieved prestigious Gold-level Veteran-Friendly Employer status: Transportation (MDOT), which was certified as a VFE in 2016, and Michigan State Police (MSP), certified in 2017. Gold-level VFEs must hire and retain a certain number of veterans and implement a number of veteran-focused human resources, support and/or training programs. Only about 3 percent of VFEs have met these criteria.
“The Michigan State Police has a long history of supporting our veteran, reserve and Guard employees,” said Col. Joe Gasper, director of the Michigan State Police, which employs nearly 500 veterans. “They are valuable members of the MSP team and we support them through our participation in the VA On the job/Apprentice training program, Employee Support of Guard and Reserve (ESGR) and our Pre- and Post-deployment Reintegration Program.”
MDOT, which employs about 140 veterans, was recognized as the MVAA’s “Rising Star” Veteran-Friendly Employer in 2016 for its innovative veteran recruiting and hiring practices, including the coordination of a Veterans Internship Program.
“At MDOT, we are very committed to including military veterans in our workforce,” said MDOT Director Paul C. Ajegba. “Their talents and skills are valuable to our work, and our mission is not only to bring them on board but to continue to help them succeed.”
Three state departments have achieved Silver-level VFE status: Health and Human Services (MDHHS), certified in 2017; Corrections (MDOC), certified in 2018; and Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), certified in 2019.
The three departments certified so far this year – DTMB, DIFS and, most recently, EGLE – join two others in the Bronze-level VFE category: Labor and Economic Opportunity’s (LEO) Workforce Development unit and Natural Resources’ (DNR) Law Enforcement Division, both certified in 2019.
“We are pleased to be the state’s newest Veteran-Friendly Employer, affirming our commitment to both supporting Michigan’s military veterans and ensuring EGLE is a welcoming and engaging workplace,” said EGLE Director Liesl Clark. “Protecting Michiganders’ quality of life and the natural resources fits hand-in-glove with their mission of protecting our country.”