Twelve Washington businesses were honored today for their efforts to hire and support military veterans in 2018.
Employment Security Department Commissioner Suzi LeVine announced the Hire-A-Vet award winners in support of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Hire-A-Veteran Month proclamation and the upcoming Veterans Day holiday.
“By honoring these exceptional companies, I hope more businesses will take note and make a similar commitment to hiring veterans,” said LeVine. “Veterans are among the best-trained candidates in the job market and make outstanding employees. There’s no better way to say thanks to a veteran than hiring one.”
Employment Security created the Hire-A-Vet Award as a way to call attention to unemployed veterans in Washington and to recognize companies with a good track record of hiring, retaining and celebrating veterans in their workforce. One business winner is selected from each of the 12 workforce development areas in Washington.
All winners participate in the state’s YesVets program to promote the hiring of veterans.
The 2018 awardees are:
- Skookum Contract Services (SKS) — This Bremerton facilities management and logistics firm employs 1,300 employees in 11 states, of which a third are veterans. In 2018, the company hired 33 veterans in Washington. Whenever they have a job opening, SKC contacts WorkSource first to check for potential veteran candidates. The company also advertises its jobs on WorkSourceWA.com and takes part in local hiring events.
- Department of Health (DOH) — This state agency in Olympia hired 21 transitioning veterans in 2018. The department also created a military-to-civilian health professions tool that helps veterans obtain credentials for 35 health professions. Over 400 health credentials have been issued to active, Reserve and National Guard personnel and to more than 2,800 family members since 2013.
- VT Volant — This aerospace company in Burlington has a long track record of hiring military veterans and has developed a strong partnership with WorkSource to advertise its jobs and recruit veteran talent. The company employs 18 veterans – representing nearly 25 percent of its workforce. VT Volant also has made a serious commitment to hiring and retaining older veterans. The average veteran age when hired is 49 with an average tenure of nine years. It’s most recent veteran hired was 63 and the oldest currently employed veteran is 78 years young.
- Motor Trucks, Inc. — This diesel repair and truck sales company in Everett employs 32 employees, of which six are veterans — 20 percent of the company’s workforce. In 2018, Motor Trucks added two new veteran employees to its team. The company coordinates all its veteran recruitment through WorkSource and has implemented a culture of “veterans helping other veterans” to support veteran employees. Motor Trucks even provides paid skills training and certifications through journeyman level and offers medical and vacation benefits.
- Allied Universal Security — This Seattle firm hired a whopping 36 veterans in 2018. Allied Universal Security also worked with WorkSource during the year to help its veteran employees access government assistance for rent, utilities, bus passes and gas cards when needed. The company participated in every WorkSource veteran hiring event this year and even provided coffee and snacks for job seekers.
- West Sound Workforce — This Gig Harbor-based recruitment firm first reached out to WorkSource in 2016. The first year, the company placed 14 veterans, followed by 24 in 2017 and 20 so far in 2018. West Sound Workforce also helped employ 13 military spouses in 2018.
- CloudOne — This Vancouver call center brought on a new recruiter in March 2018 with the specific charge to hire more veterans. Since then, the company has increased its veteran workforce to 10 percent with only a 5 percent turnover rate– unheard of in a call center. CloudOne coordinates all of its veteran recruitment though WorkSource and advertises its openings on military job boards and social media sites.
- Chelan County — Chelan County employs 540 full-time employees, of which 81 are veterans. During the last year, eight veterans were hired, representing 44 percent of all new hires. The county also participated in the annual WorkSource Veterans Hiring Event and the Homeless Veterans Stand-Down in Wenatchee.
- Yakima Training Center (YTC) — This center has a strong track record of hiring veterans and works directly with WorkSource to recruit talent. YTC employs 144 people, of which 115 are veterans – 80 percent of the company’s workforce. In 2018, the company hired 33 veterans. YTC also serves on the boards of numerous veteran groups and provides volunteers for the annual Central Washington Veteran Stand Down.
- Columbia Cedar, Inc. — Columbia Cedar in Kettle Falls is the largest private employer in Ferry County. The company employs 170 people, of which 12 are veterans. In 2018, the company made a new commitment to veterans, hiring six veterans and maintaining an 83 percent retention rate with its veteran workforce. Currently, 7 percent of its workers are veterans.
- Tri-Cities 911 Driving School — This veteran-owned company employs 22 driving instructors, of which 17 are veterans. During the year, the owner interviewed and hired every single veteran referred by WorkSource. The driving school also provides its disabled veteran employees more flexible schedules and work environments. The owner is active in the veteran community and donates his time at prisons to help veterans who need their driver’s licenses reinstated.
- Dealer Auto Auction (DAA) Northwest — This local business employs 85 full-time employees, of which 21 are veterans. In 2018, the company worked with WorkSource to hire 16 veterans. DAA Northwest also offers volunteer opportunities for staff to help military charitable causes, including hosting a rock & roll concert honoring John Fogerty, a Vietnam-era veteran of the Army Reserve and Combat Vet Fighters.
LeVine encourages interested businesses to contact WorkSource for help hiring veterans. Employment Security has staff at centers who are specifically assigned to help veterans find jobs and to connect businesses with veteran talent. The department has provided these services to veterans since 1933.