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Editorial: Nebraska should build on its successes in hiring veterans

Editorial: Nebraska should build on its successes in hiring veterans

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Even before becoming a state, Nebraska has been a place where residents step forward to fight for our country, starting with the Civil War. Nebraskans have contributed to every military engagement since. Offutt Air Force Base personnel as well as the Nebraska Guard and Reserve make important ongoing contributions to our global security.

Once those men and women complete their service to our country, it’s important for Nebraska to be welcoming to those veterans seeking employment. A new study offers encouraging findings, scoring Nebraska No. 11 among the 50 states overall in providing economic opportunity to veterans. Iowa ranked 17th.

On a variety of scores, Nebraska’s performance is impressive. The unemployment rate for veterans in Nebraska is 2.6%, compared with a national average of 3.4%. Nebraska since 2014 has reduced its veteran unemployment rate at a better pace than the national average. Nebraska has 169 veteran-owned businesses per 1,000 businesses, compared with 148 for the national average.

The group InMyArea.com compiled the 50-state findings after crunching veterans-related data from state and federal sources.

Nebraska policy encourages the hiring of veterans by state agencies, and in recent years the state has rightly removed obstacles that complicated efforts by military spouses to find employment in Nebraska.

Last year the U.S. Department of Labor saluted four Nebraska companies for their focus on hiring and retaining veterans. Berry Law, headquartered in Lincoln, and Persevus LLC of Omaha received Platinum Medallions, the highest award given under the Labor Department’s two-year-old program known as Honoring Investments in Recruiting and Employing American Military Veterans, or HIREVets. Union Pacific of Omaha and Executive Airborne Solutions of Bellevue received Gold Medallions, the next highest award.

The awards are made based upon the percentage of veterans hired, employed and retained by the company, as well as the establishment of certain programs to support veteran employees.

Persevus LLC was founded in 2016 and works to place veterans in jobs with local businesses. Executive Airborne Solutions, incorporated in 2008 by an Air Force veteran, is a government contractor supporting the National Airborne Operations Center E-4B aircraft at Offutt and other military programs.

It’s encouraging to see how Nebraska recognizes the importance of welcoming our veterans. Let’s build on these successes for even greater progress.

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