Associated Industries of Massachusetts has joined a Patrick Administration initiative to promote the hiring of veterans by Bay State employers.
The initiative announced yesterday at the State House includes $500,000 in Fiscal Year 2013 to train veterans through the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership’s Mobile Outreach Skills Training (M.O.S.T.) program. MassMEP also plans to immediately use $200,000 in existing state funds to offer a new training class for veterans during this fiscal year.
“AIM and the business community are honored to work with the administration to support the hiring of veterans,” said Richard C. Lord, President and Chief Executive Officer of AIM.
“At a time when many Massachusetts employers are struggling to find qualified workers, people returning from military service provide just the kind of experience that can help any business. These returning heroes know how to get up in the morning, show up on time and get the job done.”
Governor Patrick declared November “Hire a Veteran Month” and announced the formation of an inter-agency task force to help state government increase its hiring of veterans. The administration will also offer Massachusetts businesses an option to post an official state logo designating the company as a “Proud Employer of Massachusetts Veterans,” if the company employs a certain percentage of veterans.
“By partnering with the business community, we can encourage and increase the hiring of more Massachusetts veterans, including those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan,” Patrick said.
The initiative comes as unemployment rates for post 9-11 veterans continue to run higher than for non-veterans. The current jobless rate for returning veterans between the ages of 18 and 24 is 21.1 percent, more than double the rate for the overall population. Economists fear those numbers may deteriorate as the United States ends operations on Iraq and large numbers of military personnel return to civilian life.
Jack Healy, Director of Operations for MassMEP, said training is key to addressing the problem.
“This high percentage of unemployment is due partly to stereotyping veterans’ fitness for employment, such as inadequate technology skills and lack of education. M.O.S.T. training helps veterans overcome such stereotypes and equips them to fill unmet skills needs in our advanced manufacturing sector.”
Other business groups supporting the veterans’ initiative include the Massachusetts Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (MACCE), the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, the Mass High Tech Council, the Defense Technology Initiative, and the Retailers Association of Massachusetts
AIM looks forward to providing more information about the initiative in the coming weeks.
Employers with questions about hiring veterans may contact the Governor’s Advisory Council on Veteran’s Services (www.mass.gov/veterans), their local One-Stop Career Center, or AIM.