On November 21, Crawford County will be officially recognized as a member of the Home Base Iowa (HBI) Program, which is a State of Iowa initiative to recruit veterans and service members transitioning out of the military for private-sector careers in Iowa.
“Iowa has always been a welcoming environment for veterans and we want to make sure that these veterans know, as they are leaving the service and entering the workforce, that there is a great opportunity here,” said Chamber & Development Council of Crawford County (CDC)Executive Director Evan Blakley.
In 2014, the Iowa Legislature passed the HBI Act, which provides state income tax exemption on military pensions, $5,000 military homeowner assistance, veteran preference in employment, streamlined occupational licensure processes and in-state tuition assessment to eligible U.S. veterans and their families, according to the HBI website.
As part of the program, communities across the state were invited to create incentives that would encourage veterans to relocate to the community.
Blakley said every city in Crawford County was asked to offer anything they had for an incentive, from gift baskets to club memberships and housing incentives.
As part of the program, employers are also encouraged to commit to hiring veterans.
Communities recognized as members are listed as HBI communities in the program database, which is a resource for veterans.
The City of Denison has already been certified as a member of the program.
Sherri Vaughn, Iowa WorkForce Development business marketing specialist, said the program is good for veterans because employers can look at résumés posted on the Home Base Iowa website to see what skills veterans have.
“A number of our businesses in Crawford County have said they would become a Home Base Iowa business, which means they would give preference to veterans and that they are willing to hire veterans that may want to relocate to Crawford County,” Vaughn said.
The program is a plus for businesses because it provides another source of applicants for job openings, she said.
“They gain skills in the military and we will work with them at the Iowa Workforce office – we’ll work with them to translate those skills into skills that are recognized by employers in our area,” she said.
The official unveiling of the program in Crawford County will take place from 3:45 to 4:30 p.m. on November 21 in the courtroom at the Crawford County Courthouse.
“The purpose is to promote that we have become a certified community and to promote the incentives that we are offering to veterans,” Blakley said.
“Most of our employers are hiring today, so there are a lot of different career paths for veterans who move here,” he said.