SAGINAW – Legislative Democrats hosted a roundtable discussion with veterans, small business owners and officials from Saginaw Valley State University today in support of legislation that would address unemployment among Michigan’s veterans.
“I was honored to speak with veterans today and hear firsthand about the issues they face,” Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D-Flint) said. “When their service ends, our support of veterans shouldn’t. We need to do what we can to help our servicemen and women build healthy, successful lives in Michigan. We can do that and help small businesses succeed at the same time with this bill.”
Joining Ananich were state Reps. Vanessa Guerra (D-Saginaw) and Charles Brunner (D-Bay City), along with Michael Major, Director of Career Services at Saginaw Valley State University; Denise M. Berry, Director of Military Student Affairs at Saginaw Valley State University; David Maczik, President of The Standing Company; Valarie Johnston, Human Resource Manager of Hausbeck Pickle Company; and local veterans to discuss the Hire MI Heroes legislation recently introduced in the Senate and soon to be introduced in the House.
“I watch brave men and women leave the comfort of their homes and their families to fight for our freedom and protection abroad, only to see them come home and find themselves struggling to find work,” Rep. Guerra said. “With this bill, I am hopeful that these proud veterans will be able to get on their feet and keep the strength they had while serving to make a life for themselves back home.”
The legislation would provide Michigan businesses that hire an unemployed veteran with a one-time tax credit of 25 percent of the veterans’ compensation up to $4,000. The bill has broad bipartisan support in the Senate and will be introduced in the House in the coming weeks.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 31,000 of the state’s nearly 650,000 veterans are unemployed. In 2013, Michigan had the second-highest veteran unemployment rate in the U.S., with a rate of 10.6 percent, a full four percentage points above the national average for veterans. These numbers are even worse for our newest veterans, with Michigan’s unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans at 13.5 percent in 2013, also more than 4 percent higher than the national rate.
Additional resources are available from the State of Michigan’s Veterans Employment Services Division at (800) 455-5228 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.