State program encouraging veteran employment reaches new milestone

YesVets, a statewide campaign encouraging employers to say ‘yes’ to hiring veterans, reached a new milestone recently. The program, which has been in place since 2015, has now helped more than 2,000 veterans find employment in Washington state.

Rep. Gina McCabe, whose 2015 House Bill 2040 led to the creation of YesVets, said the campaign has been beneficial to Washington veterans and businesses.

“When I sponsored my ‘One Business, One Vet’ bill [House Bill 2040], I envisioned it being a powerful catalyst for veteran employment,” said McCabeR-Goldendale. “As of November 17, 2,130 veterans have been hired and 573 Washington employers are participating in the program. This is a win-win for our economy and our veteran population, who have made so many sacrifices for their fellow Washingtonians. I would also be remiss to not applaud the speed at which the Employment Security Department, the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs and other agencies collaborated to make this idea a reality.”

The Employment Security Department, in partnership with Washington Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA), Department of CommerceWashington State Military Transition Council, and local chambers of commerce across the state, form the YesVets partnership.

WDVA Director Lourdes E. “Alfie” Alvarado-Ramos said programs like YesVets benefit employers because veterans exhibit work qualities advantageous to businesses.

“Veterans make incredible employees,” said Alvarado-Ramos. “They have a great work ethic, ability to thrive in a team, self-confidence, discipline, and problem solving abilities that are absolutely unparalleled. When you add the technical skills and abilities that they learned in their military job, you’ve got a pretty unstoppable workforce.”

Employers seeking to participate in YesVets can submit an online application or contact a Local Veterans Employment Representative to get connected with veterans seeking job opportunities. Once a business signs up and hires a veteran, they are recognized with a YesVets decal. Continued participation is recognized with annual decals.

“As veterans helping veterans in the job market, we thank Rep. McCabe and all the businesses who participate in the YesVets effort,” said Clint Hede, Local Veterans Employment Representative from WorkSource Yakima. “We encourage every business owner who wants to hire veterans to visit today to connect with a veterans employment representative who can help you with all your recruiting needs—from individual referrals to job fairs.”

Washington state is home to nearly 600,000 veterans. According to 2016 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate of veterans in the Washington civilian labor force is 3.8 percent.