Maine Labor Dept Begins Effort To Find Jobs For Veterans


August 28, 2015

AUGUSTA, MaineĀ (NEWS CENTER) — Maine has one of the highest proportion of military veterans in the country, but too many younger veterans still can’t find jobs. That’s why the Maine Department of Labor is starting a new program, called “Hire-A-Vet”, to encourage more employers to hire more veterans. The program won’t officially start for another few weeks, but the work began on Thursday, as more than 30 employers learned about the benefits of hiring veterans, and some of the challenges.

Maine National Guard chaplain Col. Andy Gibson said many full time service members have to adjust toimage of maine's veterans campaign lower salaries and fewer benefits when they take civilian jobs. And he said employers need to understand some of the language and culture of the military, to help the veterans fit into their new jobs. Gibson told the employers that veterans are typically more mature, more focused on completing assigned tasks and even more idealistic than many of their peers in the civilian world. He said that’s a benefit to employers, but is also a factor in helping them adjust to the work place.

Col. Gibson and Department of Labor officials both say veterans make good employees, and hope more businesses will hire them.

The DOL says overall unemployment numbers don’t show the serious need for more jobs for veterans. Auta Main, who is leading the Hire-A-Vet project for the DOL, says older veterans have an unemployment rate similar to the state average, which is around 5%. But she says young veterans, between the ages of 18 and 30, are far more likely to struggle finding jobs. She says those vets have a 10% to 12% unemployment rate, so they are a particular focus of the new hiring effort. The DOL used Col. Gibson to explain military culture to the employers, and stress the benefits of hiring veterans. They also brought in a behavioral therapist, who is also a veteran, to speak about issues such as PTSD.

The Department of Labor will kick off its Hire-A-Vet program next month. Their goal is to recruit 100 employers to hire at least a hundred veterans in one hundred days. They hope to find jobs for many more than that, and believe the goal will be reached.

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