Posted at: 07/23/2012 6:56 PM
By: Gordon Severson
MNDot to Help Veterans
(ABC 6 News) -- A hot button issue over the past few months, helping returning veterans find jobs.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation recently unveiled their new program to help soldiers.
"To help identify and work with veteran owned companies to assist them through the certification process," Kristin Kammueller of MnDOT Public Affairs explains.
The way it works is, any company that has a majority of shares owned by a veteran, at least 51%, can apply for the Veterans Outreach Initiative.
Right now, only 30 veteran owned companies are applying for bids.
That's less than half of what it used to be.
Not only do they want numbers to go up, they want to see them triple.
Here in Southeast Minnesota, MnDOT officials really only deal with two companies that are veteran owned.
Both of them are actually in Mankato.
One's an electrical company, the other one is a trucking company.
Since they're putting this program in place so late this season, they don't expect to see higher numbers until next year.
"For every state project a veteran has a 6% advantage over a non-veteran owned business, as a primary contractor. You can go 6% higher than the low bid and still qualify for getting awarded that project," MnDOT Assistant Manager of Civil Rights Alex Tittle explains.
Each of these vet owned companies could employ anywhere from a handful to dozens of workers.
The hope is that being the owner is a vet, they would employ other vets to do the work.
Getting as many vets back to work as possible.
"We hope that they do take advantage of it and that it does increase the number of veterans certified," Kammueller explains.