Program aims to be job pipeline for veterans

LAS VEGAS -- Veterans returning to the workforce after 9/11 have a higher unemployment rate than the average American. Governor Brian Sandoval hosted a summit in Las Vegas Thursday aiming to change that.

Employers say hiring veterans is not only an obligation; it is also good business sense.

The Green Zone Employer Program is hoping to create a pipeline that sends veterans to job openings they are qualified for.

Besides Gov. Sandoval, Thursday's gathering included military and community leaders. Panelists include representatives from MGM Resorts International, Wells Fargo and a gaming technology company employing about 600 people in Las Vegas.

They talked about why hiring veterans is important for employers and employees.

"I know that our experience has been extremely positive and it's something we are looking to leverage. About 10 percent of our organization is veterans, or active guys and reservists, or family with direct ties to an active member," vice-president of human resources for Aristocrat Technologies John Stevens said.

Stevens plans to use the Green Zone Employer Program to connect with people who already have the skills the company is looking for, instead of picking through applicants that are not right for the job.

The program also provides training for human resources managers to better communicate with and utilize their veteran employees.

"What that scrambled or hard to understand military resume might mean, but also set up peer-to-peer type mentorship opportunities when the veteran is hired on," said Caleb Cage, the director of military and veterans policy for the governor's office.

The panelists say veterans are proven to have a wide array of technical skills not too mention discipline, leadership, and work ethic.

Stevens says veterans deserve a thank you for their service, but that is not why he hires them.

"For us it is a competitive labor market, and we are looking at those skills from wherever we can," Stevens said.

He hires veterans because they work.


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