Summit focuses on veteran employment
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Cannon Air Force Base Col. Buck Elton and New Mexico Department of Veteran Affairs Cabinet Secretary Timothy Hale, a previous military member, were guest speakers at the New Mexico Employer Summit on April 26 in Clovis.
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New Mexico Department of Veteran Affairs Cabinet Secretary Timothy Hale spoke to New Mexico business owners about how they can help the veteran workforce while at a business summit on April 26 in Clovis. Hale said the help begins with communities caring about the veteran community.
The summit was an annual meeting for New Mexico business owners to hear panels on a variety of business topics, such as readily available business resources and services, how employment and labor laws apply to your business and how to align business practices with the Unemployment Insurance Policy.
For his lunch hour talk, Hale chose to discuss how businesses apply to veterans of working age.
"We have more than 180,000 veterans in New Mexico and that number is about to grow," Hale said. "When I talk to groups about what you can do, I mention veterans, because the things you can do are varied."
Hale is a veteran himself, having served 28 years in the U.S. Air Force.
He told his summit audience that military members are returning home from combat with an unemployment rate 2 percent higher than the national average and every military member who has experienced combat suffers from some level of post traumatic stress disorder after they leave the military.
"What we're finding in our studies with our men and women coming home is when we find them jobs right away, it lowers those issues," Hale said. "The thing that makes it (improvement) strongest is the community and how you support the veteran community."
Hale said some ways state government is trying to help is by passing two bills to give veterans who are trying to open a business tax breaks and by creating the Veterans Business Outreach Center to help beginning veteran business owners get started.
Hale said the two tax bills will go into effect as of July 1.
"When I talk about greatness and leadership, I also talk about friendship," Hale said, encouraging business owners in the state to support veterans joining civilian ranks. "They bring that can do attitude and discipline to our communities and our workforce."
Hale said any New Mexico residents or business owners can contact him any time to find out more about how they can help working veterans, but the way to begin is by showing them support and being willing to hire them.
"We need Buck Elton and his crew to stay in New Mexico and be those workforce leaders," Hale added.
Elton gave business owners a brief update on the base, saying again that the high desert was the ideal place for the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC).
"A very important reason was the Melrose bombing range," Elton said.
Elton said the base currently has 104 aircraft and is expected to have 140 aircraft by fiscal year 2019.
"We fly specialized airplanes to fly specialized missions," Elton said. "Our mission, our force, our base, will grow from here."