Governor Scott Walker delivered remarks today at the Wisconsin National Guard’s Wisconsin Employment Resource Connection (WERC) programme celebrating the 500th job placement through WERC. The programme works closely with service members to assist them with their transition into civilian life. WERC’s announcement coincides with the national Iraq War Veterans Day of Honor.

Governor Walker said, "Our service members have dedicated their time and talents to serve our country, and it is our duty to assist them with a smooth transition into the workforce here at home.

"In just over two years, WERC has helped find employment for 500 service members. Thank you to all of the dedicated staff at WERC for your hard work and commitment to our veterans and military."

WERC teamed up with the National Guard Bureau’s Job Connection Education Program in January 2012. By working with service members on developing resumes, practicing interview skills, and finding businesses interested in hiring service members, WERC has helped cut the unemployment for Guard service members from 10.1% to 5.1%. Captain Joe Ledger, WERC manager, received the Meritorious Service Medal from Governor Walker for his dedication to finding employment for service members.

SFC Jim Reynolds, 108th Forward Support Company in Sussex, is the 500th job placement by WERC; he has been hired as a service and sales technician at Optimum Vehicle Logistics (OVL) in Milwaukee. SFC Reynolds has a background in mechanics and worked in a field maintenance shop. WERC helped him develop his resume and interview skills and followed up on his application with OVL. Optimum Vehicle Logistics is the leading provider of OEM parts, accessories, and service for the defense market.

Wisconsin’s Department of Military Affairs, Department of Veteran Affairs, and Department of Workforce Development partner to provide additional resources for service members and veterans seeking employment. Together, they are hosting veteran business symposiums, veteran employment seminars, and job fairs for veterans. The new Labor Market Information System will allow veterans to input their military service so employers with open positions can easily identify them and their skill sets.

The 2013-15 state budget continued the Governor’s commitment to our veterans and their families by extending the Veterans and Surviving Spouse Property Tax Credit, improving the Wisconsin GI Bill by eliminating the time limit for veterans with at least five years of residency, adding more than 100 full-time staff at veterans’ homes, and funding the VETransfer program with a $500,000 grant.

Governor Walker proclaimed today as Iraq War Veterans Day of Honor to recognize all of the veterans of the Iraq War. Wisconsinites are called on to remember the members of the Armed Forces who served during the war, those who were wounded, the 89 Wisconsinites who made the ultimate sacrifice, and the numerous others with connections to Wisconsinites who made the ultimate sacrifice.

"Thank you to each member of the armed forces and to our veterans for your noble defense of the freedoms we hold dear," Governor Walker added. "Today, and every day, we thank you, we remember your sacrifice, and we stand with you. We also owe thanks to the parents, spouses, and families of our military for their sacrifices, while their loved ones were deployed."