Hiring Heroes

Posted on Jan 24 2013 - 11:04pm by Lacey Russell
File Photo (Jared Burleson/The Daily Mississippian)Governor Phil Bryant

File Photo (Jared Burleson/The Daily Mississippian)
Governor Phil Bryant

Gov. Phil Bryant declared 2013 the year to hire veterans, and in conjunction, the Mississippi Department of Employment Security and Workforce Investment Network job centers are assisting an estimated 28,000 Mississippi veterans to return to civilian life and regular employment.


Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed a proclamation Jan. 16 declaring 2013 the year to hire veterans.

Speaking at the Capitol before a number of veterans’ interest groups Jan. 16, Bryant expressed his concerns for veterans and their families.

“Our many active duty, reserve and retired military members deserve to return to good paying jobs that allow these men and women to use skills learned in the military,” the governor said in a statement posted to his website.

The unemployment rate among veterans returning home from the global war on terrorism stood at 10.8 percent nationally in December, according to the Navy News Service and Gov. Bryant’s website. The national average unemployment rate was 7.8 percent for the same time period.

In conjunction with the governor’s proclamation, the State of Mississippi’s Department of Employment Security (MDES) is assisting Mississippi employers through placement advising, posting employment opportunities, screening applications and providing referrals at no cost.

Stanley Morris, Special Assistant to the Executive Director of MDES Les Range and Deputy Executive Director of MDES, explained the motivation of the governor and the impact of this initiative in Mississippi in a conference call with The Daily Mississippian yesterday.

“The governor has had a commitment from the beginning of his administration to assisting veterans in finding jobs in any way possible,” Morris said.

“He has recognized that Mississippi has a fair number of veterans returning from military service and has a number who have returned from both Iraq conflicts and Middle Eastern conflicts, and his commitment has been highlighted through last week’s press conference and declaring 2013 a year to give an emphasis on veteran’s plight in finding jobs and to encourage employers to pledge to hire veterans where they are qualified to work across the state.”

To date, MDES reports that Ingalls Shipbuilding, Entergy and Brown Bottling have signed the Pledge to Hire Mississippi Heroes.

Morris said that these businesses represent good corporate citizenship and are committed to Mississippi’s veterans.

“We have a number of other companies that are going to be signing the pledge as well,” Morris said.

“We have 23 staff members across the state that are veteran representatives in our Workforce Investment Network (WIN) job centers. Their daily job is 100 percent dedicated to serving the needs of our veterans, and they are actively engaged in helping these veterans find jobs.”

Range and Morris specifically cited Walmart, which recently pledged to hire 100,000 veterans nationwide, as another employer that can make a difference in Mississippi.

“Walmart is a significant employer in Mississippi,” Range said. “We have resources and staff in our local offices who can help Walmart meet their needs around the state.”

In addition to entering into direct partnerships with Mississippi employers, MDES will host three job fairs across the state this year in Jackson, Biloxi and Tupelo.

More information can be found at the Pledge to Hire Mississippi Heroes page at mdes.ms.gov.