Jobs Push Made for State’s Veterans

By Andy Meek

Hundreds of thousands of veterans will be coming home in the near future, as the U.S. downsizes its presence in the Middle East.

Many of those veterans will need jobs. And employers across Tennessee, with help from state government, are going on a major hiring push to put them to work.

The Tennessee Department of Labor has joined employers including Dollar General and others around the state to connect veterans with jobs in an initiative called “Paychecks for Patriots.” It will feature hiring fairs held Thursday, Oct. 25, in 13 Tennessee Career Centers across the state that will connect veterans with local employers.

The Paychecks for Patriots hiring fair in Memphis will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 1295 Poplar Ave. on a day that Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has declared “Paychecks for Patriots Day.” The fairs will be held concurrently in Chattanooga, Clarksville, Columbia, Cookeville, Crossville, Dyersburg, Jackson, Johnson City, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville, Talbott and Tullahoma.

In Memphis, representatives from AutoZone Inc., Nike Inc., Dollar General Corp., FedEx Corp., Corrections Corp. of America, Hospital Corp. of America, ESTES and Titan Transfer Inc. will be on hand to accept resumes or to refer job seekers to online applications.

In a statement about the initiative, Haslam said he’s happy the state could help in this effort by partnering with local employers.

“We should never take for granted the freedoms we enjoy here at home because of the service of veterans,” he said. “I am really grateful for our service members and all that they do overseas and back here at home.”

Tennessee Career Centers, where those veterans will participate in the job fairs, are equipped with computer workstations to facilitate online applications and job searches through a database at www.jobs4tn.gov. Tennessee has a network of those centers that serve myriad purposes, including offering such services as labor market information, Internet access, workshops, an online talent bank, job placement, recruitment and training referrals.

Several state agencies are contributing to the Paychecks for Patriots push including the departments of Labor and Workforce Development, Economic and Community Development, Military, Veterans Affairs and the Employer Support of the Tennessee National Guard and Reserve. Dollar General, one of the major employers participating, already has hired more than 7,000 veterans in the last two years, according to Dollar General executive vice president and chief people officer Bob Ravener.

According to the state, Tennessee has a veterans population of more than half a million. And each year, the state says its local employment offices provide some type of service to more than 39,000 veterans.

Information on Paychecks for Patriots and participating employers and locations can be found at http://www.tn.gov/labor-wfd/Patriots/Paychecks.shtml.

“Our servicemen and women make sacrifices few would even contemplate to provide freedom and security to the rest of us,” said Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey about the Paychecks for Patriots initiative. “When their service comes to an end, the least we can do is make the effort to help them find good, high-paying jobs.”