Gov. Jay Nixon today visited Missouri Plastics to sign House Bill 1680, which strengthens and expands the Show-Me Heroes program. Missouri's Show-Me Heroes program was established by Gov. Nixon in 2010 to expand employment opportunities for Missouri's military veterans and spouses. Earlier this year, Missouri Plastics was awarded the Flag of Freedom award, which is presented to Missouri businesses that hire veterans.
"Missouri Plastics has made hiring veterans a priority, and I am proud to count them among those receiving the Flag of Freedom award," Gov. Nixon said. "To help more businesses hire veterans, I am signing this legislation to strengthen our Show-Me Heroes program. The men and women who have served admirably in the armed forces are well trained and make excellent employees. Now, it's up to us to help them find a good job here at home."
Under HB 1680, Show-Me Heroes would add an On-the-Job (OJT) training component for returning National Guard, Reservists and recently-separated active-duty service members that Show-Me Heroes employers agree to hire. Through an OJT program, employers would be reimbursed for 50 percent of the Show-Me Heroes participant's wages during a contracted training period. The wage reimbursement will serve as an incentive for Show-Me Heroes employers to hire and train returning National Guard, Reservists or recently separated active duty personnel.
The legislation also expands the eligibility of financial assistance to the spouses of active-duty service members in addition to the spouses of National Guard and Reservists who are currently eligible. The financial assistance in this legislation includes payment of overdue bills; transportation and day care costs when pursuing employment; and vocational counseling and subsidized employment.
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 within the Department of Economic Development, Show-Me Heroes has served as a campaign to showcase Missouri businesses that are committed to hiring veterans. Employers participating in the Show-Me Heroes program sign a pledge to increase efforts to reach out to, recruit and interview veterans for job openings at their business.
To date, 2,118 Missouri businesses have taken the Show-Me Heroes pledge and 1,637 veterans have been hired. Those businesses like Missouri Plastics that have hired veterans 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.
Employers who wish to participate in Show-Me Heroes can visit the state's Web site, MO.gov, to register and take the pledge. Once a company has done so, it is listed in an online database that highlights veteran-friendly employers across Missouri. The database includes contact information for the businesses and links to their Web sites.
Employers receive a special certificate, signed by the Governor, and a decal to display at their location. In addition to the employer directory, the Show-Me Heroes Web site also includes resources for job-seeking veterans, including links to employment openings in state government and a link to a statewide one-stop-shop for Missourians looking for work.
"My administration will continue to help our veterans find jobs when they return home," Gov. Nixon said. "That's why I'm asking every employer in Missouri to visit MO.gov and take the Show-Me Heroes pledge. Together, we can continue to move our economy forward and show our gratitude to Missouri's service men and women."
In addition to Show-Me Heroes, another measure the state has taken under Gov. Nixon to encourage veterans to live, work, and retire here in Missouri came in 2009 when the Governor signed legislation gradually phasing out the state tax on military retirement income. Under the new law, by 2016, military veterans will not pay any state taxes on military pensions.