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Abbott: A call to Longview businesses

Longview News-Journal - 10/28/2017

As Texans and as Americans, we owe our respect and enduring gratitude to the men and women who have served in our U.S. Armed Forces and to those who stand ever ready both here and abroad. As Veterans Day nears and we pause to thank those who have honorably served in defense of our nation, I call on Texas employers to join in saying: We Hire Vets.

California, Texas and Florida lead in military veteran populations, accounting for nearly one-quarter of the nation's 21 million veterans. Most have successfully transitioned into new careers, but nearly half a million veterans across the country are unemployed and looking for a job; they are joined by thousands more returning to civilian life each month. Texas has nearly 30,000 veterans searching for employment in the Lone Star State.

Veterans bring unmatched leadership abilities. They already possess many of the technical skills employers are looking for. They understand teamwork and accountability. And their professionalism, perspective and mission focus can create a competitive advantage for any business.

In addition to the benefits of their military experience and training, employers may receive a federal tax credit of as much as $9,600 by hiring a veteran, and take advantage of workforce training funding for veterans offered by the state of Texas.

Early next month, the Texas Workforce Commission will host its annual statewide Hiring Red, White & You! job fair in Longview. It is set for Nov. 9, in cooperation with 28 local Workforce Solutions partners, the Texas Veterans Commission, the Texas Medical Center and my office.

Held simultaneously in cities across the state, the job fair connects Texas veterans and their spouses with Texas employers seeking to add these exceptional individuals to their workforce. For information, or to register as a business for this event, I invite you to visit twc.state.tx.us/hiring-red-white-you.

In meeting with businesses across the Lone Star State, I've seen firsthand the value veterans add to the workforce. I applaud industry leaders like Boeing San Antonio, where four in 10 employees are veterans. Accenture, Amazon, AT&T, Dell, Hilton, Lockheed Martin, Southwest, Toyota, USAA and many other companies also are committed to hiring veterans and military family members. And I am especially proud of the many small businesses owned by our veterans.

In Texas, the tradition of military service runs deep. Home to 15 active duty military installations, we also are blessed to be home to 1.6 million veterans and their families.

I'm proud of our state's support for Texas veterans, including new programs like Texas Operation Welcome Home, providing $4 million in grant funding over the next two years for transition skills training in high-growth fields, and Military Family Support, providing $1 million for employment assistance for military spouses.

We also have just launched a We Hire Vets program to identify employers with a veteran workforce of 10 percent or more.

And we've lowered financial barriers to help veterans create jobs by exempting new veteran-owned businesses from franchise taxes and by waiving licensing and exam fees.

But we can do more.

As we unite in gratitude for our veterans, I ask for your prayers for our military who still serve in harm's way.

And I challenge the job creators of Texas to join with us in saying: We Hire Vets.

May God bless all who serve, and may he forever bless these United States of America.

- Greg Abbott is the governor of Texas.

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