OLYMPIA – Thurston County was recognized by the Washington Employment Security Department YesVets program for its continued effort to hire and support Veterans in the work force on Tuesday, March 13, 2018. The County has hired 34 Veterans since it began participating in the YesVets program in February 2016.
"Veterans bring a tremendous amount of talent, skill, professionalism, and leadership with them wherever they go," said Commission-Chair, Bud Blake. "It is an honor to be recognized as a YesVets employer, and it is a win for the citizens of Thurston County, having these professionals on our team serving our community."
This year the County also established a Veterans Employee Resource Group, or VERG. This group will help connect veterans to services and empower them to use the skills they learned in the military to serve the people of Thurston County.
"Anyone in the County can be a member or participate in the VERG, but the focus is going to be on those who are veterans of the U.S. Military and their family members," said Wayne Jones, Human Resources Analyst with Thurston County, during a public presentation to the Board of Commissioners. "We have already done a survey to find out what the concerns or issues are that our veterans are dealing with, and we're working on other methods of reaching out to provide some support."
Jones added the group will be identifying ways to assist and help Veterans who not only work for Thurston County, but those who are seeking to join the County team.
In addition to YesVets and the VERG, the Board of Commissioners designated Thurston County a Purple Heart County on Tuesday, May 23, 2017. That decision made the County the first Purple Heart County in Washington State. The Commissioners installed Purple Heart County signs at various entry points to Thurston County on December 4, 2017.
"More than 32,000 veterans call our county home," said Blake. "This was a meaningful way for us to show veterans, active service members, and their families that our community cares about their military service and sacrifice."
The YesVets program is managed by the Employment Security Department and recognizes employers who show their commitment to veteran employment by hiring veterans into their workforce. To learn more about the YesVets program, visit https://esd.wa.gov/yesvets.
"We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for vets, and when I say that, it's all about the freedoms we enjoy in the United States of America," said Commissioner Gary Edwards. "That is solely because of the veterans who have served this country, and I just want to say thank you."