One of the largest efforts to help Veterans find employment returned to Illinois Thursday. The Illinois Department of Veteran’s Affairs, the Illinois Department of Employment Security and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce partnered with several large businesses to put on the Hiring Our Heroes job fair at Chicago’s Palmer House Hilton. Erica Borggren, director of veterans’ affairs, says her office continues to work on creating partnerships with businesses.
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“Not every employer is as engaged on veteran employment as the many that are in the room here today, and so we’ve got a number of initiatives under way to mobilize and really equip employers to become veteran-friendly and find great veterans like you at events like today’s,” Borggren said. With more than 100 businesses taking part, it was expected that 1,000 veterans would take advantage of the job fair. The Illinois Department of Employment Security has been doing its part in connecting veterans with employers. “Last year at our department we worked with over 35,000 veterans to help them find work, and with tens of thousands of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, we really need to recommit to making sure we get this job done,” said director Jay Rowell.
A state income tax credit is offered to businesses for each qualified veteran they hire. Employers may also qualify for a federal tax credit though the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. Thursday’s job fair is a repeat of a job fair held last year. Rowell encourages everyone seeking a job, veteran and civilian, to utilize the state’s employment website, http://www.illinoisjoblink.com/.