JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – In recognition of Veterans Day (Nov. 11) next week, Gov. Jay Nixon is issuing a challenge to local chambers of commerce to encourage their members to take the Show-Me Heroes pledge and actively recruit veterans and service members for available positions. The Show-Me Heroes Chamber Challenge will be administered by the Missouri Division of Workforce Development.
“A little friendly competition can go a long way, especially when everyone wins,” Gov. Nixon said. “Four years ago we launched the Show-Me Heroes initiative to help connect our veterans with good jobs in their communities. Today, we’re taking that another step forward and asking local chambers of commerce to get involved and help spread the word that our service men and women make excellent, highly-skilled employees.”
The Show-Me Heroes program, established by Gov. Nixon in January 2010, is designed to connect military veterans with job opportunities when they return home from service. Administered by the Missouri Division of Workforce Development, Show-Me Heroes showcases Missouri businesses that are willing and eager to hire veterans.
Businesses participating in the Show-Me Heroes program sign a pledge to ramp up efforts to reach out to, recruit and interview veterans for job openings at their business. To date, more than 4,100 Missouri businesses have taken the Show-Me Heroes pledge and have reported hiring more than 7,100 highly-skilled, highly-trained job seekers who have served in the military.
With tens of thousands of Missouri businesses belonging to their local chambers of commerce, the Show-Me Heroes Chamber Challenge is an initiative to increase participation in the state’s premier Veteran and Service Member workforce development program.
By encouraging members to participate, chambers of commerce will work to become certified bronze, silver, or gold Show-Me Heroes Chambers. The challenge levels are based on the percentage of membership participation with 10 percent earning the chamber the bronze recognition, 30 percent earning the chamber the silver recognition, and 50 percent or more earning the chamber the gold recognition.
“As president of the Chamber of Commerce Executives of Missouri (CCEM), I am excited and proud to bring the Show-Me Heroes program to chambers of commerce and businesses throughout the state,” said CCEM President Brent McCoy. “From a Chamber perspective, this program will be of huge benefit to our member investors who are in desperate need for hiring and developing the right talent in areas such as engineering, IT, finance/accounting, security and executive leadership amongst many others.
“Chambers play a key role in connecting our members with the right resources,” McCoy continued. “Right now, finding the right talent is one of the most pressing issues facing the employer community. The Show-Me Heroes program serves as a natural bridge between the employers and those talented men and women that can fill those roles. On behalf of CCEM, we are excited to partner with the Show-Me Heroes program.”
“When Missouri keeps its veterans by educating or employing them in our state when they return home from duty, it is a win for our state,” said Daniel P. Mehan, President /CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “We know that the skills veterans possess can help Missouri employers succeed, and when Missouri employers succeed, our state continues to grow. That is why we are proud to support this initiative.”
Chambers that take the pledge will automatically be able to feature the Show-Me Heroes Chamber Challenge on their websites. Businesses that take the pledge will also be able to promote their establishments as being military friendly by featuring the Show-Me Heroes Employer logo on their websites.
If businesses hire one or more veterans or service members through the program, they can be nominated to receive the Flag of Freedom Award, which consists of a plaque featuring an American flag patch from the combat uniform of a member of the Missouri National Guard worn while that citizen-Soldier or Airman was deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan.