AUGUSTA - More than 100 employers have committed to hiring veterans at the half-way point of the Maine Hire-A-Vet Campaign. The goal of the statewide initiative is to commit at least 100 employers to recruit veterans and with the result of at least 100 veterans hired. Through October 28, 2015, 118 employers are participating, with 64 veterans having been hired, including the full municipalities of Auburn, Poland, Portland and Scarborough.
"We are pleased with the results so far of the Maine Hire-A Vet Campaign, but we can always do more" said Governor Paul R. LePage. "We want Maine's employers to fully appreciate the value a veteran can bring to their workforce. Ann and I fully support the Maine Hire-A-Vet campaign. We want our veterans who have given so much to our nation to return home to good-paying careers that take advantage of the skills developed by service in the Armed Forces. Whether you are a veteran or an employer, we urge you to connect with this campaign to reduce veterans' unemployment."
The campaign provides support for employers to expand the hiring of veterans, to include a network of state and federal agencies, resources and nonprofits; education on military language and culture; assistance with recruiting, hiring, assimilation and retention; a Veteran Hiring Toolkit and recognition for the hiring and advancement of veterans.
Veterans hired include the story of a homeless veteran with a wife and two young girls, who not long a go were living in a tent. Through the Maine Hire-a-Vet Campaign, he is now working for SME Corp., a construction company in Lewiston, as a metal worker and making $15 per hour. The veteran's wife is now also working and they look to be able to soon move into an apartment.
SME Corp. regularly hires disabled veterans to give them a chance at a great job, and the Hire-A-Vet Campaign allowed them to connect with a larger veteran population.
Washington-Hancock Community Agency (WHCA), a non-profit Community Action Agency, originally hired a homeless female veteran as a temporary/seasonal intake apecialist for the Low Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The veteran and her two children had relocated to Maine, but when they arrived she couldn't find work.
Washington-Hancock Community Agency was able to provide temporary financial and case management services through Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs to stabilize their housing situation. "Through the SSVF program we have temporarily housed the veteran and her children while we find her permanent housing and assist her in paying a Security Deposit and up to six months rent to get her stabilized," said Bobbi Ann Harris, special projects/human resources director for WHCA. "A great example of how connecting several resources can help our veterans!"
By late September the veteran was promoted to a full-time position.
**Assistance for Employers**
More than 80 Maine Hire-A-Vet employers recently took part in Military Culture 101 training in Augusta and Freeport. The attendees received education on the veterans' perspective on discipline, loyalty, following orders and giving direction, problem solving and more. They also learned how a veteran's experience can transition to the workplace.
Veterans' employment representatives are available throughout the state and can visit employers to assist them in finding qualified veterans and provide information on the benefits of hiring veterans. Employers or veterans can contact campaign coordinator, Lewis Bradford at (207) 561-4051 or for more information. Employers and veterans can also contact their local CareerCenter, a list of CareerCenters is available at http://www.mainecareercenter.com .
The campaign focuses on jobs paying at least a wage of $12 per hour, but all employers with jobs at all pay levels are welcome. Participating employers are not required to hire veterans they interview in order to participate in the campaign.
Follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter: #MaineHireAVet.
The Maine Department of Labor and its CareerCenters, Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve, Hero2Hired, Veterans Inc., VA Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment, VA Veterans Homeless Program, VA Office of Rural Health, and the Maine Bureau of Veterans Services are co-sponsoring this campaign. All partners will be focused on recruiting both veterans and employers.
Maine CareerCenters are equal opportunity providers. Auxiliary aids and services are available to individuals with disabilities upon request.