Gov. Branstad announces program to attract more veterans to Iowa

Public-private partnership allows for communities, businesses to get special designation

Mike Wiser
Published: December 4 2013 | 10:51 am - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 12:27 am in
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DES MOINES — Gov. Terry Branstad’s push to get veterans to live and work in Iowa continued Tuesday with the announcement of two special designations for Iowa businesses and communities.

Branstad announced the Home Base program last month at the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum at Camp Dodge in Johnston. It’s a public-private partnership created to market Iowa to military veterans as a place to live.

Under the effort announced Tuesday, businesses can seek to be named a Home Base Iowa Business and communities can seek designation as a Home Base Community.

“Iowa Workforce Development has fielded dozens of calls and is working to place a number of veterans already,” Branstad said during a news conference Tuesday at the Capitol. “We want veterans to know that Iowa can provide them not just a job, but a career in a caring, welcoming community.”

He said federal military cuts mean more veterans entering the workforce during the next five years than in recent years.

Ken Paxton, executive director of the Greene County Development Corp., hopes some of those veterans find their way to his community in near northwest Iowa.

“Jefferson and Greene County — we’re extremely fortunate. We’re kind of in a growth spurt right now. We have anywhere from 800-1000 jobs coming in the next couple of years, and this initiative fit with us very strongly because we need new employees,” said Paxton, who joined the governor at the news conference. “We need to be able to fill these jobs as quickly as possible.”

He said banks in the area have agreed to waive closing costs on home loans for veterans and area Realtors are compiling a list of all the available property so veterans have a one-stop-shop for housing options.

”We have jobs for men, for women, for part-time, for full-time, for disabled, so we think we’ve got a nice variety,” Paxton said. “One of our kind of selling points is ‘Come to our county for two jobs, not one.’ Both the husband and wife can come, and we can handle both of you.”

Branstad said the program, which is run through Iowa Workforce Development, is open to all veterans, not just ones who are currently transitioning out of the service.

To qualify as a Home Base Iowa Business, a company must:

-- Pledge to hire a specific number of veterans.

-- Post their jobs on the Home Base Iowa website.

-- Become a member of the existing Skilled Iowa program.

To qualify as a Home Base Community, a community must:

-- Have 10 percent of the businesses in the designated Home Base area be Home Base Iowa Businesses.

-- Provide a unique welcome and incentive package to attract veterans to their community.

-- Have a plan to prominently display their designation.

-- Obtain a resolution of support from the local governing body.

Further information about the program and the new designations is available by calling 855-9HB-IOWA or by emailing homebase@iowa.gov.

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