news-mvaaGov. Rick Snyder helps recognize 37 employers for veteran hiring efforts as MVAA announces 2015 rankings

Nearly 1,000 good-paying jobs are ready to be filled by veterans at companies throughout Michigan that recognize and respect their military skills, training and experience.

Gov. Rick Snyder joined Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency Director Jeff Barnes today during MVAA’s Veteran-Friendly Employer Awards and Recognition Breakfast, held at Michigan State University. Together, they announced the 2015 Veteran-Friendly Employer rankings and recognized the state’s top companies dedicated to veteran employment.

“I applaud those companies committed to helping our veterans build long-lasting careers,” Snyder said. “Veterans are an important source of untapped talent in our state, they bring valuable skills to the workforce and are an integral part of Michigan’s continued reinvention.”

Through MVAA’s Veteran-Friendly Employer program, veterans can choose from job opportunities in a variety of industries and can more easily identify the state’s 37 veteran-friendly employers committed to hiring and supporting veteran talent in their workforces. The program also recognizes organizations for their dedication to recruiting, hiring, training, and maintaining veteran talent.

“Veterans are strong leaders, quick thinkers and motivated employees, and each of MVAA’s Veteran-Friendly Employers understands the value of including those skills and experience in their workforce,” MVAA Director Jeff Barnes said. “The goal of the Veteran-Friendly Employer program is to connect veterans with employers who understand the value of their military training and discipline, so that more and more veterans can become a part of Michigan’s continued economic recovery.”

Thirty-seven organizations earned either bronze-, silver- or gold-level status as determined by their commitment to connect with and hire veteran talent. The full list is now available on

For the first time in the program’s history, three organizations were certified gold-level Veteran-Friendly employers. General Motors, the first organization to earn the gold-level certification, knows its ongoing efforts to hire and train veterans are just one way the company can say ‘thank you’ to Michigan’s veterans.

“We’re honored to receive this recognition, but the true credit goes to the veterans that chose to serve their country,” said Ken Barrett, GM chief diversity officer and a former U.S. Navy captain. “As we continue to work with great partners like MVAA and Hiring Our Heroes, we hope to do even more to help and hire these brave men and women.”

Quicken Loans and Whirlpool Corporation were also honored as 2015 gold-level Veteran-Friendly Employers.

To be recognized as gold, employers must retain at least 75 percent of veteran hires over the past 12 months, implement internal veteran support networks and create either a hiring rotation or leadership development program within their organization, in addition to meeting all other requirements under the Veteran-Friendly Employer program. For Quicken Loans, the decision to create the programs and share their successes with other companies was an easy one.

“Helping veterans receive the career training and opportunities they deserve is a calling that all businesses can unite around,” said 22-year U.S. Army veteran Rob Ells, Quicken Loans Director of Veteran Recruiting. “We’ve seen great success with our Tour of Duty program, which helps veterans who are transitioning from active-duty service gain corporate experience, and would love to see more companies implement similar programs. The benefits and leadership an organization gains from our military veterans is immeasurable.”

It’s a sentiment echoed by Whirlpool.

“Hiring veterans is a great business strategy. They are not only extremely talented individuals, they are also proven leaders who have stepped forward and defended our country,” said Jeff Noel, corporate vice president of Communications & Public Affairs at Whirlpool Corporation. “We’re proud to be recognized as a military friendly employer. Whirlpool Corporation was established 104 years ago this week and throughout our history, from shifting production to aid the war effort in 1942 to our Veterans Association today, we have supported the service of our men and women in uniform. The skills these men and women learn in quick decision-making, teamwork and leadership are vital to creating a strong and talented workforce representative of the values the United States and our company are founded on.”

Six organizations were honored as 2015 silver-level employers for meeting or exceeding their veteran hiring goals and implementing internship and on-the-job training programs for veterans, including Cooper Standard, DTE Energy, Michigan Department of Transportation, Prestige Group, Roush Enterprises and Verizon.

Twenty-eight organizations were certified bronze-level veteran-friendly employers for their veteran hiring policies and practices:

  • Alix Partners
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
  • Consumers Energy
  • CTI
  • Detroit Zoological Society
  • Duncan Aviation
  • Essential Team Resources, LLC
  • Express Employment Professionals of Grand Rapids
  • Fettig
  • Flexfab, LLC
  • Holland
  • Hollingsworth Logistics Group
  • IngenuityIEQ
  • Kandu
  • Lipari Foods
  • McCann Worldgroup Detroit
  • Meritor, Inc.
  • Michigan State Police
  • Ostlund
  • Peckham, Inc.
  • Robin Aire Heating & Cooling
  • Sterling Oil & Chemical Co.
  • TEKsystems
  • Uniform Color Company
  • US Foods
  • Zeitner and Sons

PHOTO ADVISORY: Gov. Rick Snyder and MVAA Director Jeff Barnes congratulate gold-level Veteran-Friendly Employers General Motors, Quicken Loans and Whirlpool Corporation on their commitment to hiring and supporting veteran talent in their workforces. Thirty-seven organizations were recognized during today’s Veteran-Friendly Employer Awards and Recognition Breakfast for their dedication to veteran employment.

From left, Ben Kunst and John Miller, Whirlpool Corporation; Keith Nattrass and Mark McKeen, General Motors; Gov. Rick Snyder; Justin Mendoza, Quicken Loans; Director Jeff Barnes and Kristina Leonardi, MVAA; and Rebecca McDonald, Quicken Loans.

About the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency: MVAA serves as the central coordinating point for Michigan veterans, connecting those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, and their families, to services and benefits throughout the state. Learn more at or call 800-MICH-VET (800-642-4838).