YesVets pilot project aims to get more employers to say “Yes” to hiring veterans
Contacts: Janelle Guthrie, ESD Communications Director, (360) 902-9289
Heidi Audette, WDVA Communications Director, (360) 725-2154
Barbara Dunn, Commerce Communications Director, (360) 725-2805
New veterans hiring initiative brings Goldendale legislator’s bill to life
OLYMPIA – Washington state is urging businesses to say “yes” to the state’s veterans when filling open positions. The YesVets pilot project will start in Klickitat, Kittitas, Skamania, and Yakima counties this month—and employers across the state may be able to participate by early summer.
Employers who hire a veteran will be recognized with a YesVets window decal they can display at their business to demonstrate support for America’s service members. They will be recognized each year with annual decals that can be displayed next to the YesVets decal.
Employers who wish to participate in the pilot project should visit http://www.yesvets.org to sign up.
Rep. Gina McCabe, R-Goldendale, developed the idea after she met with veterans early in the 2015 legislative session.
“I was surprised to learn these veterans were having difficulty finding jobs to support their families after leaving military service,” said McCabe, who owns several small businesses herself. “Serving in the military provides our veterans with a strong work ethic, a diverse skillset and the ability to work well in teams.”
McCabe sponsored House Bill 2040 to encourage businesses to hire veterans and to improve the veteran employment rate overall. The bill passed both legislative chambers and was signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee in late April.
Inslee’s Employment Security Department, Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Commerce worked together to turn McCabe’s vision into a pilot project—and they hope to expand statewide in June.
“Hiring a veteran is good for our state’s businesses and good for our country,” said Inslee, who has made improving veteran employment rates a primary goal for his administration.
“We hope YesVets will increase the number of veterans who find great jobs, and also encourage returning veterans to consider starting their own veteran-owned business,” said Alfie Alvarado, director of the state’s Department of Veteran Affairs.
“We have skilled local veterans employment representatives in every community, helping our state’s veterans find great jobs every day,” said Dale Peinecke, Commissioner of the state’s Employment Security Department, a partner in the WorkSource system. “Veterans who come into our WorkSource offices work with staff who are also veterans and who understand the skills and abilities they bring to the workforce.”
"Commerce is committed to the success of our state’s economy, and that includes ensuring we have the talented workforce to meet industry’s needs, today and into the future,” said Brian Bonlender, Director of the state Department of Commerce. “We know that hiring veterans is a great way to tap an already skilled talent pool and to retain a diverse labor force in our state. That’s why we are proud to partner with ESD and WDVA on this effort.”