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Governor’s Address: Maine’s Hire-A-Vet Campaign Exceeds Goals

Earlier this week, I was proud to join a group of business people and veterans to recognize the growing number of employers who participated in Maine’s Hire-A-Vet Campaign last year.

Maine’s Hire-A-Vet Campaign had such ambitious goals last year -100 days, 100 employers, 100 veterans hired – some thought they’d never fulfil them. Well, they not only fulfilled these goals, they far surpassed them.

This program’s contributions to expanding Maine’s workforce, supporting businesses across the state, and improving the financial well-being of our veterans would be impressive in itself, but the fact that they surpassed these goals to such a degree is nothing short of astounding.

To the 191 different employers across the state who hired more than 286 veterans, including 52 women, in every county of Maine, I want to say thank you. Thank all of you. Thank you to those employers,in every industry, every sector, whose names span from A to Z and would take too long for me to listhere.

These employers did not hire veterans merely out of a sense of charity or obligation; they hired them because they recognized what we all know to be true. Veterans know what it means to work as a team. They know they can’t leave anyone behind. And they know how to serve a vision and mission with integrity and commitment while adapting to dangers that are known and unknown. Sounds like pretty good employees to me.

We are one of three states in the nation with the highest percentage of veterans. According to the Maine Bureau of Veteran’s Services, there are more than 114,000 veterans in Maine. These include thousands of working-age men and women who are ready to learn the skills our businesses need to expand, modernize, and succeed.

With the workforce shortage we are already facing today, and our aging population – a threat that looms over our future – Maine’s Hire-A Vet Campaign is even more critical to making connection between this army of workers and available, high-quality jobs.

The average hourly wage of veterans hired thanks to Maine’s Hire-A-Vet Campaign was $23.05. This is higher than the mean hourly wage of all occupations in Maine in 2018 and higher than the minimum livable wage across our state. These are not make-work jobs. They are jobs at the foundation of our economy and the financial well-being of countless Maine people.

President F. Kennedy once said: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

It is not enough to simply say “thank you” and pat ourselves on the back for fulfilling a promise to honor our nation’s veterans. As they have done their duty, it is time we do ours to ensure that every Maine veteran has the opportunity they have earned to live, work and raise a family right here in Maine.

My administration will continue to partner with Maine’s Hire-A-Vet Campaign and with employers big and small, private and nonprofit, to make that goal a reality.

I look forward to next year’s Campaign, and I thank this year’s participants for their hard work and enduring commitment to our people at large, and especially to our veterans.

Thank you.

Janet Mills


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