By DAVID EGGERT
LANSING, Mich. (AP) _ Michigan will partner with a major national business group to help active-duty members find jobs after leaving the military.
The state is among three chosen to pilot a new initiative by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes program, Gov. Rick Snyder said Tuesday at his economic summit in Grand Rapids.
With extra promotion by the program’s “All Vet States” initiative, state officials are hoping to raise Michigan’s visibility on U.S. bases around the world when service members and spouses begin thinking about where to locate after military life.
The state anticipates that between 30,000 and 50,000 new veterans will move to Michigan in the next three to five years.
“It’s really about illustrating Michigan as an opportunity as a state to transition to and begin the next phase of their life,” Jeff Barnes, director of the state Veterans Affairs Agency, said in a phone interview.
Hiring our Heroes will feature Michigan, Iowa and Tennessee on its website and link to state websites that feature additional resources on available benefits for veterans and the advantages for employers who hire them. Barnes mentioned that Lansing Community College give credits to military medics studying to become EMTs and nurses.
Partnering with the chamber will let Michigan better track opportunities in the labor market and placements stemming from job fairs, he said,
Of 405 job-seekers who attended a recent Hiring Our Heroes job fair in Detroit, 63 received offers. Employers extended 16 offers after a similar job fair in Grand Rapids that had 106 participants.
Eric Eversole, executive director of Hiring Our Heroes, credited Michigan for “being very active” in showcasing economic opportunities for veterans. Since Michigan does not have many military installations, it is more limited in getting the word out without a platform like Hiring Our Heroes, he said.
Last year, Snyder created the veterans affairs office because Michigan ranks last among the states in federal money spent per person on services provided through the U.S. Veterans Administration _ medical treatment, pensions, schooling, disability compensation, employment assistance. That is despite Michigan having the nation’s 11th-highest population of veterans.