Col. Wright discusses Arizona Veterans hiring initiative

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The veteran hiring initiative aims to increase the percentage of veterans in the state’s workforce from 8.5 percent to 15 percent by 2025. AZHiresVets! will be directly connecting job-seeking veterans with state agency recruiters and hiring managers during two hiring events on March 30 and April 28 in Phoenix. Earlier we spoke with Colonel Wanda Wright, the Director of the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services for more.

AZHiresVets! is a governor’s initiative to attract veterans to work for the Arizona state government.

“Veterans were in public service when they were in the military service, you know, being in the Department of Defense, one of the largest public service agencies in the federal government. We thought it would be a good idea to get them to come work for our particular state government.” Wright said. “They have great traits. I’m a veteran myself, and I know that we have discipline, great leadership skills, we’re team workers.”

Currently, there are about 3200 state employees who have self-identified as veterans or around 8.5% of the state workforce.  However, many veterans choose to not self-identify, and Wright said she believes that the number is in truth much higher.

“They don’t think state government to work. They tend to go toward federal government, because that’s what they know,” Wright said.

AZHiresVets! aims to get that number to 15%

Wright stressed that there’s no lack of willingness to work for the state, but simply a lack of awareness about the opportunities.

“It’s just awareness. Even when I retired from the Airforce, I never thought to work for state government. I had a friend in state government and they were like ‘you know what there’s a position open and I think you should apply for it,’ and my first question was, what is that?” Wright said. “It’s just something we don’t think about. I think that if we put out in the forefront, and market it in a way more veterans would hear about it they’d be willing to apply.”

There are two upcoming hiring events to be held at the State Capitol to fill 1700 vacant positions.. The first will be held on March 30, and the second on April 18.

The openings are also posted on the state jobs website

“I hope the veterans come,” Wright said.

Colonel Wanda Wright, Director of the Arizona Department of Veterans' Services

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