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Minnesota touts more hiring of veterans

FAIRMONT — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz recently proclaimed July to be “Hire A Veteran Month in Minnesota,” in an effort to encourage employers to help connect military service members with employment opportunities.

“Veterans returning from deployments face higher unemployment rates and experience more challenges entering the workforce,” Walz said. “I encourage all Minnesota employers to give veterans the uppermost consideration when hiring.”

Martin County Veteran Services Officer Doug Landsteiner appreciates the proclamation, and offered his thoughts on veteran employment in the county, and shared his role in the process.

“I stay in close touch with the Department of Employment and Economic Development and the Minnesota Workforce Center and I receive a lot of information on jobs,” he said. “Katie McNair is a specialist for DEED out of Mankato and she travels the region specializing in helping to place veterans who have difficulty finding work. She’s done a pretty good job in this area.

“Otherwise I pretty much just refer veterans with information that I have whenever somebody is inquiring about work. Martin County hasn’t been a real problem for veterans finding work,” he continued. “We’re at an all-time low unemployment, not just for the general population but for veterans as well. There is the occasional situation where it’s difficult for some veterans to find work and that’s where you need a job specialist to help out.”

Landsteiner reiterated that the Workforce Center does a great job at finding work for veterans and said that, overall, the state of Minnesota is ahead of the game when it comes to veteran employment.

“I would say that in general, Minnesota is good about hiring veterans and so are the federal agencies, especially the Veterans Administration. They have a 33 percent requirement where they strive to employ at least 33 percent veterans at the VA in all aspects, not just the benefits division but also at the health care division.

“It hasn’t been a real problem here like it has in some of the metro areas,” he said. “Martin County seems to be in pretty good shape. I’d say most of the employers are very veteran friendly around here and they’re happy to hire them.”

As part of “Hire a Veteran Month,” Minnesota veterans are encouraged to attend the 13th Annual Veterans Career Fair taking place from 2-6 p.m. July 24 at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Center. Hosted by DEED and the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, the event is the largest veterans career fair in Minnesota. Veterans, active military members and their spouses are invited.

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