Coming off a successful inaugural year of military talent attraction efforts, WEDC and its strategic partners at the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development are redoubling their efforts to bring military veterans and their families to Wisconsin, creating new opportunities for Wisconsin companies to tap into this highly valued talent pool.
Each year, approximately 250,000 active service members transition out of the military and into civilian life. The skills and values veterans and their families bring to the workforce and to their communities are highly regarded by Wisconsin employers and the state as a whole.
Mission Wisconsin—part of a larger, statewide effort to maintain Wisconsin’s workforce leadership by addressing increasing challenges businesses face filling open positions—involves direct, face-to-face interaction with service members at events held throughout the country and abroad that are designed to help attendees connect with career opportunities. These events are hosted by Hiring Our Heroes—a program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation devoted to helping veterans, transitioning service members and military spouses find meaningful employment.
Last year, the Mission Wisconsin team visited 14 U.S. military bases, engaging 28 Wisconsin companies to help promote the state as an ideal post-military destination. Base visits resulted in nearly 1,000 service member contacts which are now being nurtured and relationships developed.
“The State of Wisconsin is raising the bar for states interested in attracting the exceptional talent of our veterans and military spouses,” said Hiring Our Heroes President Eric Eversole.
WEDC and its Mission Wisconsin partners invite Wisconsin companies to participate in this military talent attraction program by accompanying the state team to free Hiring Our Heroes events. When possible, the booths of Wisconsin companies will be clustered with the state exhibit at these transition summits, amplifying Wisconsin’s career and lifestyle promotional message. Companies unable to host their own employer table have the option of serving as Wisconsin ambassadors, advocating for Wisconsin’s exceptional educational, professional and personal fulfillment opportunities.
John Deere-Horicon Works Labor Relations Manager Jeff Kennedy has joined the Mission Wisconsin team at Hiring Our Heroes base visits, and he encourages other Wisconsin companies to do the same. “What excited us was not only the State of Wisconsin being on board, but WEDC investing money to get employers to these events,” Kennedy said. After hearing about the range of services Wisconsin offers veterans, service members were more receptive to Kennedy’s message. “That is a big deal to me as a recruiter, because if they’re not interested in moving to Wisconsin, they won’t be interested in working for us.”
Wisconsin employers seeking to enhance their military talent recruitment efforts are encouraged to complete an interest form that can be found at wedc.org/hire-veterans. Registered businesses will receive early notification of upcoming events and can receive vetted resumes for transitioning service members and spouses whose skills match the company’s open positions. Attending Hiring Our Heroes events is not required to benefit from this talent pipeline opportunity.