A statewide push to employ veterans recently reached a significant milestone, with 5,000 Missouri companies taking the pledge to hire veterans for open positions.

The Show-Me Heroes program, which encourages Missouri businesses to hire veterans once they have returned home from service, was launched in 2010 by the Gov. Jay Nixon, who said the programs success is a testament to Missouri’s emphasis on honoring veterans.

“Our nation was founded on the principles of freedom, opportunity and a commitment to one another – principles which have been fought for and defended time and time again by Missouri’s veterans,” Nixon said. “We again express our deepest appreciation to those who have served, and renew our commitment to ensuring that Missouri remains a great place for veterans to live, work and raise a family. I also want to thank the more than 5,000 businesses and employers in Missouri that have taken the Show-Me Heroes pledge to make hiring veterans a priority.”

With more than 494,000 veterans living in Missouri, creating opportunities for businesses to connect with former service members and enhance their workforce talent is a top priority of the state.

In addition to honoring heroes, the Show-Me Heroes initiative positively impacts businesses. Military men and women possess valuable skills needed for Missouri’s growing economy, including leadership, efficiency under pressure, integrity and dedication, teamwork and respect for procedures. Participating companies also receive financial incentives.

Major employers such as Ameren, Cerner and Enterprise Holdings took the pledge to employ more veterans.

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