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Vets Ready Employer Initiative

The Vets Ready Employer Initiative serves to encourage employers to build a support system within their workplace, hire and retain more veterans, and connect to veterans in the community and their families. Every year the Department of Workforce Development will recognize businesses who have gone above and beyond for the veteran workforce. Businesses are separated into three categories – small, medium, large – and either receive a gold or silver certification.

DWD is partnering with the Department of Veterans and Military Affairs, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and the Veterans Chamber of Commerce on the Vets Ready Employer Initiative. A team of six representatives will review an employer's application and score in three categories – supporting veterans in the workplace, hiring vets, and connecting with the veteran community. The business with the highest scores will receive the award for that year.

Employers must provide a letter of support from a veteran or veterans' organization supporting the company's accomplishments as referenced in the application.

If you would like consideration for the Vets Ready award, please review the criteria and fill out the application and submit it via email to Application materials will be available on January 2, 2020.

Please address any questions regarding the application or process to

Supporting Veterans in the Workplace

Candidates must illustrate the resources that are available to veterans for employee engagement, growth, and training opportunities such as:

  • Veteran Resource Groups (Internal affinity groups for veterans to share experiences, voice concerns, tackle common problems, share struggles)
  • Veteran-specific employee onboarding programs
  • Veteran-specific management training programs
  • Veteran-specific retention efforts
  • Veteran on-the-job training, apprenticeships, or internships

Applicants must describe measures taken by the organization/company to create capacity of all workers to create a supportive environment for veteran employees such as:

  • Executive-level sponsor is visible and active
  • Defined, sustainable, and ongoing training/awareness program for company staff
  • Efforts to identify and recognize service members, veterans, and military family employees

Applicants must describe financial assistance measures implemented to assist veterans such as:

  • Tuition assistance and/or educational attainment support (more points may be awarded for higher levels of assistance)
  • Pay differential program (fills the gap between military pay and employer pay)
  • Hiring bonus for veterans

Applicants must demonstrate how they offer personal assistance and development opportunities for their veteran workforce such as:

  • Supports recovery and rehabilitation programs that focus on post-traumatic stress
  • Accommodations for physical, emotional, mental disabilities
  • Schedule flexibility for military families related to physical, emotional, or mental disabilities and/or active duty requirements

Hiring Vets

Applicants must describe efforts in their human resources processes to prioritize veteran hires. Applicants must describe recruitment strategies such as:

  • Ongoing HR strategy to hire veterans
  • Presence at veteran-centric hiring events
  • Participation at Transition Summits or other military-related hiring events
  • Works with government agencies and non-profits such as WEDC, DWD, DVA, Veterans Chamber, USO, and others to utilize available resources and connect withveterans
  • Post jobs on

Candidates must illustrate hiring goals such as:

  • Percentage of veterans hoping to hire each year
  • Number of veterans hoping to hire each year

Connecting to the Veteran Community

Applicants must describe how they connect to and support the veteran community. Applicants must illustrate how they support military families such as:

  • Efforts to connect to the military spouse talent pool
  • Implementing workforce flexibility for military spouses
  • Military family resource groups/Family Readiness Group (FRG)
  • Participate in Military Spouse Hiring initiatives such as the Wisconsin Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zone

Applicants must demonstrate their volunteer and charity work such as:

  • Partnership with veteran support and service organizations
  • Employer-led volunteer and fundraising events
  • Participation or sponsorship of events related to veterans

Applicants must describe their support of service members & veterans outside the office such as:

  • Participation in public events recognizing current or veteran service members
  • Support of the guard and reserve ESGR statement
  • Visible support of service members, veterans, and military families by leadership