Gov. Walker signs off on employment efforts aimed at hiring veterans

APPLETON – Finding a job could get easier for unemployed veterans.

Governor Scott Walker is stepping up state initiatives meant to help them.

“Now it’s official!” Walker proclaimed after signing an executive order in Appleton.

“The least we owe them is an opportunity to find a job and to build their piece of the American dream,” said Walker.

Speaking at a disabled veterans conference, Walker stressed the importance of employing vets. He says a new council will be created to achieve that.

“In terms of hiring veterans in all areas of state government, but particularly hiring veterans who have a disability related to their service of our country,” Walker told the crowd.

Apart from state government jobs, Walker says there are a number of incentives available to companies just for hiring a veteran. And a new program is in place that offers employers a state grant when they hire a disabled veteran.

“I think that it’s going to help benefit many veterans, but there are always exceptions,” said Garth Johnson, a disabled veteran from Stanley.

The Desert Storm veteran says he’s been mostly jobless for the last 15 years, because of his physical and mental disabilities. He adds Walker’s plan, while a good effort, likely won’t help him.

“I would like it to help me, but in my situation, it would be a very special case,” said Johnson. “If there were a job out there that companies would have incentives that would fit my needs, I think it would be very beneficial for me.”

Wisconsin is home to approximately 60,000 disabled veterans and workforce development officials say it’s no easy task for those looking for a job to find one.

“The disabled label is obviously a barrier to employment,” said Jim Golembeski with Bay Area Workforce Development.

But Golembeski says the veteran label gives those applicants a leg up with employers.

“If they see the word veteran, they’re going to give it some special attention. Beyond that it’s a matter of the nature of the disability, the nature of the skill set,” Golembeski said.

Golembeski adds even grant money may not persuade some businesses to hire a disabled vet.

“It all comes down to skills. They’re not going to hire somebody that doesn’t have the skills to do their job,” Golembeski said.

You can check out Governor Walker’s complete executive order by clicking here.

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