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Help Wanted: Programs Pairs NC Veterans with Employers

Photo: NC4ME pairs employers with veterans and educates businesses on the benefits of hiring veterans. Photo credit: taliesin/morguefile.com
Photo: NC4ME pairs employers with veterans and educates businesses on the benefits of hiring veterans. Photo credit: taliesin/morguefile.com
July 22, 2015

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. - More than 372,000 working age veterans live in North Carolina, and after dedicating a part of their lives to the military, many of them have trouble finding employment, according to a new public-private endeavor in the state.

North Carolina for Military Employment, or NC-4-ME, aims to educate employers on the benefits of hiring veterans. Kimberly Lindsay, executive director of the initiative, said it's important that North Carolina businesses understand that veterans are a skilled workforce that is ready to contribute skills to a company.

"We can get our veteran ready, as ready as we can," she said, "but unless the employers understand the value that a veteran can bring to their organization, it really doesn't help us."

According to the North Carolina Justice Center, at least 8 percent of all veterans in the state are unemployed. NC-4-ME is holding regular events around North Carolina for employers to understand what veterans can offer to their organizations. The state now is offering instate tuition to veterans and credit for time spent in the military.

Lindsay said recent job fairs her group held have resulted in a 50 percent interview-to-offer ratio.

"What we're hearing from those employers is, 'You're definitely matching the knowledge and skills and abilities I'm looking for,' " she said, "and they are making offers right there on the spot. "

Lindsay said the goal of NC-4-ME is to make North Carolina best in the nation for military employment. She said the program also has the potential to increase statewide economic growth, reduce hiring costs and raise retention rates for employers.

More information is online at nc4me.org.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC