Governor Mike Parson recently began an outreach effort to retain veterans who leave military service in Missouri and attract those who separate from the military outside the state. Aligning with the Governor’s focus on workforce development, the outreach addresses the current and projected need for highly skilled and educated workers to fill some of Missouri’s most critical private sector jobs.

“Too often we lose veterans to other states,” Governor Parson said. “To keep more of our talented veterans here in Missouri and fill critical jobs in our communities, we must change the way we reach them.”

Approximately 7,000 Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, and Marines with connections to Missouri separate from the military each year, but the majority do not choose to live in the state.

To offer a more tailored service to these veterans, Governor Parson, who served in the U.S. Army, last week began sending personal letters to service members in the process of leaving the military at Fort Leonard Wood and Whiteman Air Force Base, as well as new veterans separated from service outside Missouri. The letters encourage service members to connect with the state’s wide range of workforce services.

Unlike the current system that primarily requires veterans to visit a Missouri job center, this new strategy assigns a single point of contact within state government to provide personalized assistance in identifying available jobs, education, training opportunities, and other supportive services offered by the state.

The strategy also involves coordinating an effective case management and follow-up procedure for those who respond to the letters.

“We know those who are planning to leave the military are busy with their jobs and may not be able to visit one of our offices to access workforce programs. My goal is to make Missouri the best state in the nation for veterans to live and work by better connecting them with the great employment opportunities and resources we have available,” Governor Parson said.

Over the coming weeks, Governor Parson will continue to send letters and collaborate with the Office of the Missouri Military Advocate, Missouri Veterans Commission, and the Missouri Department of Economic Development Division of Workforce Development on the outreach effort.

Governor Parson also keynoted the Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony at the Missouri State Capitol. The event was put on by the Missouri Veterans Commission in conjunction with the Missouri State Legislature.

“Missouri and our great nation owe a great debt to the brave men and women who served our country in the Armed forces during the Vietnam War, protecting our rights, freedoms, and our ideals,” Governor Parson said. “It was a tremendous honor to have the privilege of speaking to this distinguished group of Vietnam Veterans and discuss the importance of passing down to the next generation the values of duty, sacrifice, patriotism, and love of our country these heroes have shown to all of us.”