Our Opinion: Local employer earns banner achievement

Awards recognize deeds or show appreciation for contributions.

Sometimes — as in the case of the Flag of Freedom — it does both.

Gov. Jay Nixon on Tuesday honored the local Scholastic Corporation for hiring military veterans through the Show-Me Heroes initiative.

The governor established the initiative two years ago — in January 2010 — to help connect veterans with job opportunities when they return from service.

The initiative asks employers to consider hiring a military veteran when a job becomes available. To date, 1,718 employers have pledged not only to consider, but to “reach out” to military veterans and members of the National Guard and Reserve.

Nixon established the Show-Me Heroes initiative after visiting Afghanistan and listening to troops express concerns about whether they would find work after they returned home.

The economic downtown has created a dual dilemma for military veterans.

First, the slowdown has been marked by fewer jobs and rising unemployment, which only recently has started to ease.

Second, military veterans might be at a comparative disadvantage in terms of experience, although skills honed in the service might be analogous to civilian know-how.

Scholastic is among 132 employers statewide to be honored with the Flag of Freedom awarded. In making the presentation, the governor noted the company employs more than 60 veterans throughout the state.

Ultimately, an employer must decide which applicant is best suited to do the job.

But no one should be penalized or discounted because they have served in our nation’s military rather than in a civilian workforce.

Like our veterans, employers willing to give them a fair chance also deserve recognition and appreciation.

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