Paper finds that recruiting and retaining veterans is a wise business choice 

PHOENIX – As we take time to honor the service of our active military, National Guard, Reservists and veterans this Veterans Day, Monday, November 12, the Arizona Chamber Foundation releases today a report highlighting the importance of veteran employment and providing specific policy recommendations for Arizona.

The report, prepared for the Foundation by Borns Solutions AZ, finds that an estimated 76,000 Second Gulf War veterans call Arizona home. According to national unemployment numbers for August 2012, unemployment for the general population was 8.1 percent; yet for veterans of the Second Gulf War, the rate was 10.9 percent.

Arizona veterans serve as an untapped resource that can grow and help diversify Arizona’s economy. The benefits and opportunities for employers hiring veterans are substantial, but frequently overlooked. Military service prepares veterans with work ethic, teamwork and analytical skills. There are clear economic opportunities and synergies between the skills veterans bring to the workforce and the needs of private industry.

The report finds that in order to harness this skilled talent, business and elected leaders must adopt best practices for hiring and retaining veterans. Leaders can also enact policies to help facilitate veterans’ transition from military to civilian life and streamline the wealth of public, private and non-profit resources available to the veteran community.

With the goal of advancing the efforts of this study, the Arizona Chamber is honored to have Craig Doyle, Arizona Regional President of Comerica Bank, take the lead on the Chamber’s new Veterans and Military Affairs Committee. Captain Doyle, an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, recently returned from his third activation since September 11, 2001, which was in the Asian Pacific Theater. While there, he was the first Naval Reserve Officer to serve as Commanding Officer of the Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Yokosuka. His mission included all operational, planning and logistical support for the Far East region. With both business and military leadership experience, Captain Doyle brings valuable personal experience to this important endeavor.

The mission of the Chamber’s Veterans and Military Affairs Committee is to act as a resource and connector for employers that are interested in helping veterans transition from military to civilian employment. The committee highlights the economic opportunities associated with veterans as employees, entrepreneurs and small business owners with a vision for making Arizona one of the most attractive states for veterans to live and work. The Committee supports public policies that aid in the transition to civilian employment for veterans and military spouses.

The committee has put together a resource toolkit to help veterans and employers navigate the wide array of resources available.

The findings of this report will be used to help more businesses implement proven programs to recruit, promote and retain veterans and to advance public policies that support veteran employment and entrepreneurship during the 2013 legislative session.

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