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‘Chamber Continues Efforts To Recruit Vets To Nebraska’

LINCOLN – As part of its ongoing strategy to address Nebraska’s workforce needs, the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry will continue its partnership with the State Department of Labor, private employers, community colleges and veteran support groups to recruit military veterans to the Cornhusker State.

The effort is part of the State Chamber’s “Good Life for Veterans” campaign – unveiled in 2014 to make Nebraska the premier destination for individuals separating from the military, as well as for veterans who have already left the Armed Forces and are pursuing another career.

Nebraska Chamber staff will again participate in military job fairs in nearby states, including the following locations:

  • Fort Riley, Junction City, Kansas – April 20;
  • Fort Carson, Colorado Springs, Colorado – May 19; and
  • Ellsworth Air Force Base, Rapid City, South Dakota –  June 29

The State Chamber’s “Vision Nebraska” initiative has identified the availability of qualified and skilled labor as the leading concern of Nebraska employers.  A recent Nebraska Chamber survey indicated that more than half of respondents statewide had experienced difficulty in hiring qualified or skilled employees during the past year.  One in four respondents cited the lack of qualified workers as the key issue limiting their business growth.

Joseph Young, who leads the Chamber’s “Vision Nebraska” initiative, said: “Nebraska receives positive attention because of its low unemployment rate.  However, low unemployment means there are relatively few Nebraskans available to fill the more than 50,000 current job openings in our state. ‘The Good Life for Veterans’ campaign lets veterans know they are wanted in Nebraska and that great career opportunities are available right now.”

Military veterans offer a vast range of skills and abilities, a strong work ethic and proven self-discipline, Young said.  In addition, they are mobile and are willing to relocate for career and educational opportunities.

For questions about the initiative, contact Joseph Young at (402) 474-4422 or jyoung@nechamber.com.

As part of its comprehensive military recruitment strategy, the Chamber this session is supporting state legislation (LB754) to establish a Military & Veterans Commission to help Nebraska preserve its military interests, including Offutt Air Force Base near Bellevue.  Offutt’s estimated economic impact to Nebraska is $1.3 billion and the base is one of the state’s largest employers, with approximately 10,000 military and civilian personnel.

The State Chamber has proudly served as the voice of Nebraska’s business community since 1912.

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‘University of Nebraska-Omaha ranked the best business school for Veterans’

Recently, Military Times ranked the University of Nebraska – Omaha the best business school in the U.S. for veterans.  The rankings are based on enrollment, cost of tuition, Yellow Ribbon programs and military course completion among many other things.  See the story here:  http://www.militarytimes.com/story/veterans/best-for-vets/2016/02/08/best-vets-business-schools-2016/79453242/

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‘Nebraska Offers Veterans The Good Life’

Thanks to Nebraska’s affordable housing and other low costs of living; outstanding employment opportunities; outdoor life; clean environment; low crime rates; and tremendous access to medical care, the Cornhusker State stands out as one of the best places for those who have served our nation in uniform.

Recently, financial website Wallethub.com ranked Lincoln No. 1 out of the 100 largest U.S. cities for veterans.  The study was based on 19 measures contained within two general categories: economic wellness; and environment, education and health.  Omaha was ranked No. 6 out of 100 on the same list.

In a similar comparison, online publication NerdWallet in 2015 composed a list of the best places for returning veterans to live.  All of the places examined by NerdWallet have at least one military base within the city limits or close by, and claim a higher percentage of veterans than the U.S. average.  Papillion, Neb., — just outside Omaha — made the list’s No. 4 spot.  It’s worth noting that Papillion boasts the lowest rate of veterans living below the poverty line.

Meanwhile, the University of Nebraska-Omaha, which is well recognized for its high graduation rates for military veterans, was recently named No. 1 in Military Times’ “Best Colleges for Veterans” 2015 rankings.  Central Community College was named the nation’s top two-year college for veterans.  Bellevue University made the top five list for best non-traditional and online college programs.  And the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s online graduate business and online graduate education programs were second best in the country for veterans, according to U.S. News and World Report’s 2014 comparison.

To encourage more veterans to make Nebraska home, state lawmakers have recently enacted veteran-friendly legislation.  For example, in 2015, LB272 became law to allow private employers to voluntarily adopt a veterans hiring preference. Nebraska also enacted LB987 to exempt a portion of military retirement pay for recently retired veterans.  Specifically, the State of Nebraska allows a veteran to make a one-time election, within two years after separation from military service, to exclude portions of military retirement benefits. The veteran may choose one of two options: Exempt 40% of military retirement benefits for seven years after separation date; or exempt 15% of military retirement when he/she turns 67.

For numerous reasons, Nebraska undoubtedly offers veterans the good life.

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‘Veterans’ jobs fair set for Nov. 9 in Omaha’

(Rep. Brad Ashford release) — Congressman Brad Ashford would like to invite members of the Nebraska Chamber who are looking for employees to be exhibitors at the “Boots to Business Seminar & Veterans Job Fair.” The event will be on Monday, Nov. 9, 2015, at the Scott Conference Center located at 6450 Pine Street in Omaha.  Exhibitor booths will be open from 1:00-4:00 p.m.  Interested businesses may complete the free exhibitor registration form online at https://ashford.house.gov/boots-business.  For questions, comments or additional information, contact Andy Hale at (402) 916-5678 or andy.hale@mail.house.gov.

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‘Lawmakers pass health care credentialing bill for vets’

(Unicameral Update) — The Unicameral Update reports that Nebraska lawmakers have passed a bill to allow the issuance of health profession credentials based on military education, training or service.  LB264, introduced and prioritized by Lincoln Senator Adam Morfeld, would ensure that the skills and experience acquired through military service are recognized for the 34 health professions overseen by the state’s Uniform Credentialing Act.  The State Chamber supports LB264 to assist efforts to recruit health care professionals who are transitioning from the military.

http://update.legislature.ne.gov/?p=17360

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‘Nebraska’s 2.6% jobless rate lowest in U.S.’

(AP/HastingsTribune.com) — The AP reports that “Nebraska’s preliminary unemployment rate dropped to 2.6%  in March and remained the lowest figure in the nation.”  According to the story, the March rate was a tenth of a point under the revised February rate of 2.7% percent, the Nebraska Labor Department report said.   Omaha’s preliminary unemployment rate was 3.1% last month, while Lincoln’s was 2.3% and Grand Island’s was 2.9%.  The state’s highest jobless rate is in Beatrice at 3.5%, while the lowest is in Kearney at 2.1%.

http://hosted2.ap.org/NEHAS/a95836825f6e4e39a76207cbad66d13d/Article_2015-04-21-NE–Nebraska%20Unemployment/id-96c8e29e718049cf8f6efc2fd84e3524

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‘Nebraska’s unemployment rate is lowest in 17 years’

(Lincoln Journal Star) — JournalStar.com reports that Nebraska’s preliminary unemployment rate for March, at 2.6%, was the lowest for the state in 17 years.  “Nebraska has not seen an unemployment rate of 2.6% since 1998,” said Commissioner of Labor John H. Albin.  Eric Thompson, an economist and director of the Bureau of Business Research at UNL,  said: “There has been so much change and restructuring in the U.S. economy since the year 2000.  It is heartening to see that the Nebraska unemployment rate is down at a level last seen during the late 1990s. … It suggests that the Nebraska economy has successfully adapted to the changes in the national and global economy.”

http://journalstar.com/business/agriculture/nebraska-s-jobless-rate-lowest-in-years/article_25cc6d45-7119-5860-a79a-7fc7e7509c74.html

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‘Senators vote to expand angel investment tax credit’

(AP/HastingsTribune.com) — The AP reports, “Nebraska lawmakers have voted to expand a popular tax credit for investors in high-tech startup companies.”  With a 25-0 vote, senators gave first-round approval to LB156 by Sen. John Stinner of Scottsbluff to “increase the amount of money available from $3 million a year to $4 million” for the incentive program “aimed at so-called ‘angel investors’ who provide capital for risky, undeveloped businesses, often involving new technology.”  The story notes that “in Nebraska, the tax credits have gone to software publishers in Omaha, data processing and surgical supply companies in Lincoln and a winery in Pawnee City, among others.”

http://hosted2.ap.org/NEHAS/a95836825f6e4e39a76207cbad66d13d/Article_2015-04-07-NE-XGR–Angel%20Investment-Credit/id-cd4175351b92425c8fb85da5b044440d

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Governor Signs Veterans’ Hiring Preference Bill

Governor Pete Ricketts has signed legislation to make it easier for private employers in Nebraska to establish their own hiring preference policies for military veterans.

On March 6, 2015, the Legislature voted 45-0 to approve LB272 by Bellevue Senator Sue Crawford.  Governor Ricketts signed the bill March 12.  Under 272, private employers will be able to adopt a hiring preference for veterans and spouses of 100% disabled veterans or veterans killed in action.  The bill will protect such employers from frivolous lawsuits and claims of hiring discrimination, since a veterans’ hiring preference policy will not be considered a violation of any state or local equal employment opportunity law including the Nebraska Fair Employment Practice Act.

The bill will become law three calendar months after the Legislature’s adjournment, which is tentatively set for June 5.

The preference policy will need to be in writing and applied uniformly to decisions regarding hiring and promotion.  Employers seeking to implement the policy will need to notify the Department of Labor, which will maintain a registry of employers with a voluntary veterans’ preference hiring program.  The State Chamber supports LB272, which is an employer-friendly approach to make Nebraska a more desirable place for veterans to work and live.

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Nebraska Senators Announce Veterans Bills

(AP) — The AP reports, “A coalition of Nebraska lawmakers have vowed to push for expanded veterans benefits.”  The story notes that six senators, led by Sen. Sue Crawford of Bellevue, announced “bills detailing hiring preferences, tax exemptions and workforce training.” A bill introduced by Sen. Crawford would allow private companies to have voluntary hiring preferences for veterans and spouses of disabled veterans. It also goes with a measure passed last year that gives veterans a preference in the hiring process for state and government jobs.  Another bill by Sen. Jeremy Nordquist of Omaha would grant businesses up to $12,000 for the first six months to cover on-the-job training costs for veterans.  “The bills, while aimed at Nebraska’s more than 143,000 veterans, also are meant to attract skilled military retirees to the state’s workforce, Nebraska Chamber of Commerce Vice President Jamie Karl said.  In 2013, 52% of business leaders in 35 Nebraska communities said they had difficulty recruiting qualified employees. Karl said the proposed legislation would enhance the Chamber’s Good Life for Veterans initiative, which connects unemployed veterans with employers.”

http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/story/veterans/careers/get-hired/2015/01/15/nebraska-senators-announce-veterans-job-bills/21829129/

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Study: Nebraska Is A Top State For Military Retirees

(WalletHub) — A study conducted by personal finance website WalletHub.com finds that Nebraska is the fifth best state for military retirees.  The study considered each state’s economic environment, health care services and overall quality of life.  Nebraska was No. 2 in the area of health care for veterans, and was one of the best states for veterans in the area of job opportunities.  Military veterans and retirees are attractive for states looking to boost their workforce.  “For starters, the average officer is only 45.2 years old upon retirement from service and enlisted personnel are even younger – 41.4 years of age, according to The Congressional Research Service. Most are therefore still in the job market.”

http://wallethub.com/edu/best-states-for-military-retirees/3915/

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Nebraska Lawmakers Expand Veterans Benefits

(AP/KansasCity.com) — The AP reports, “More Nebraska veterans will receive tax breaks, tuition benefits and a hiring preference for government jobs once a series of new laws go into effect.”  Paul Cohen, a retired Air Force brigadier general from Omaha, said “the Legislature and the governor have really worked to make Nebraska a more military- and veteran-friendly state.”  The story notes that “business groups, led by the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry, have launched a campaign to draw veterans and military retirees to the state.”

http://www.kansascity.com/2014/04/06/4940833/nebraska-lawmakers-expand-veteran.html#storylink=cpy

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Nebraska’s Online Degree Programs Are Among Best For Veterans

(Lincoln Journal Star) — JournalStar.com reports, “The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s online graduate business and online graduate education programs are second best in the country for veterans, according to U.S. News and World Report’s 2014 ranking.”  According to the story, all of the programs ranked for veterans by U.S. News and World Report are certified for the GI Bill and participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program.”  UNL’s online graduate business program ranked sixth nationally for 2014, and online graduate education ranked 11th.  “In the online bachelor’s degree category for veterans, Bellevue University ranked sixth and the University of Nebraska at Omaha seventh.”

http://journalstar.com/news/state-and-regional/unl-s-online-graduate-business-and-education-programs-no-for/article_c022449b-6daf-508f-9ded-dd88fa449d2b.html

Nebraskans’ standard of living makes Gallup’s top 10 list http://www.omaha.com/article/20140214/LIVEWELL01/140219374/1707
Legislature Hears Veteran Tuition Legislation http://update.legislature.ne.gov/?p=14170
Nebraska Chamber Organizes Participants for Military Job Fairs http://www.nechamber.net/state-chamber-leads-effort-recruit-military-veterans-neb
UNO Top Public University for Vets http://www.unomaha.edu/news/2013/11/uno-nations-top-public-university-for-vets.php
Central Community College Named Top School for Veterans http://projects.militarytimes.com/jobs/best-for-vets/2014/colleges/2-year/