By Eden Laikin
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano today joined with US Congressman Steve Israel, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and representatives from a dozen local companies to jointly sign a pledge to implement a Long Island Veterans Work Initiative that encourages companies to hire veterans, many of whom garnered great skills while in the military; and also coordinate and intensify efforts to identify and train veterans throughout Nassau and Suffolk, with an even broader outreach initiative.
The new bi-County plan was announced outside the offices of Henry Schein in Melville, one of the companies to sign The Pledge to Support Our Veterans, so far. The other companies are: National Grid, GSE Dynamics, Bethpage Federal Credit Union, North Shore LIJ, New York Mets, Perfume Center of America, Orbit International, VJ Technologies, CA Technologies, First Data and D’Addario & Co.
Officials from several of those companies said that by participating, they are reaffirming their full support for veterans who have “served our nation’s defense and strength at home and abroad, and our obligation to honor those still serving,”
County Executive Mangano said the people of Nassau County have great admiration and the “utmost gratitude for the men and women who have selflessly served their nation and this country in the Armed Forces…we proudly serve more than 100,000 veterans in Nassau County.”
Israel said this was an important step in ensuring that our veterans are recognized for the many invaluable skills they possess. “Our veterans, who have put their lives on the line for our country, should never have to worry that they cannot find a job,” Israel said. “However, with the unemployment rate for veterans over eight percent in New York, that’s exactly what many of our veterans are doing.”
Service members transitioning out of military service and back into civilian life face many challenges, one of the most difficult is finding gainful employment, officials said. In 2013, the unemployment rate for veterans in the State of New York was 8.2% while the national average was 6.6%. But, Veterans possess a wide range of invaluable skills, education, training, character and experience that translate well into professional environments. One of the missions of this initiative is to make that known to employers.
Last month, Mangano declared Nassau County a “Purple Heart County” and said that as the son of a Korean War Veteran, he knows the struggles that our returning soldiers face.
“Here in Nassau County, our Veterans Service Agency is working every day to ensure that all returning Vets receive the benefits and services that they rightfully deserve,” Mangano said. ”My administration is committed to taking care of our heroes who have taken care of all of us.”