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An Echo Press Editorial: Hire a veteran to do the job right

If you're an employee with job openings — and there are a lot of them in our area — consider hiring a veteran.

They make excellent workers, so much so that Gov. Mark Dayton has proclaimed the month of July as "Hire a Veteran Month" in Minnesota. His proclamation encourages all Minnesota employers to help connect military service members with employment opportunities during the month of July, and to continue hiring veterans throughout the year.

"Hiring a veteran is one of the best investments a business can make," said Dayton in a news release last week. "Veterans learn fast and possess many invaluable skills, such as leadership, dedication and strong work ethics."

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development notes that more than 337,000 veterans call Minnesota home and many are currently contributing to the state's strong economy. DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy said, "Veterans are equipped to enter the workplace with the needed skills. In a time when Minnesota is projected to see workforce shortages all across the state, it becomes even more important to make sure all Minnesotans have access to quality, meaningful employment."

Larry Shellito, a former president of the Alexandria Technical and Community College who is now Minnesota's Veterans Affairs commissioner, pointed out another good reason for employers to put a veteran on their payroll. "Hiring Minnesota veterans is good for business and helps support our heroes who have sacrificed so much for our state and nation," Shellito said. "Veterans can perform at the highest levels under all kinds of pressures and conditions which make them valuable team members for Minnesota companies and organizations."

Here are some resources for veterans who are seeking a job:

DEED Veterans Services. Specialized staff can help eligible veterans with employment services to help them prepare for, find, and keep a job — no matter their era of service. Go to https://bit.ly/2KHjZ6J. Also, if you are an employer seeking to hire a veteran, go to https://bit.ly/2zq407S.

Minnesota Workforce Centers. Veterans seeking employment are encouraged to visit their local Workforce Center. All veterans of all ages and service eras receive Priority of Service in all Minnesota WFCs, including the office in Alexandria at 303 22nd Ave. W, Suite 107, 320-762-7800.

MinnesotaWorks. Minnesotaworks.net is a website facilitated by DEED. Veterans can post their resumes there, and identify themselves as veterans so it is easier for employers to find them. Employers can post there open positions at this site at no cost, and can identify themselves as veteran friendly employers, so that veterans can easily find them.

Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs. The MDVA has a website dedicated to helping Minnesota veterans connect to employment resources.

Yellow Ribbon Company Program. Throughout Minnesota, companies and corporations are making a commitment to military service members and veterans. For help locally, you can go to the Facebook page of the Alexandria and Douglas County Beyond the Yellow Ribbon or email dc.alx.btyr@gmail.com.

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