COLUMBIA — Several local businesses were honored Tuesday morning for hiring military veterans as part of Gov. Jay Nixon's "Show-Me Heroes" initiative.
The Flag of Freedom Award was handed out to eight Columbia employers in recognition of their efforts to hire veterans returning from overseas.
The "Show-Me Heroes" initiative, created by Nixon in January 2010, encouraged employers to take a pledge to aid veterans in their job search and consider "how many good attributes veterans have," Mike Brown said, a veterans employment representative at Columbia Area Career Center.
"If you have a non-veteran and a veteran with the same qualifications, we're asking businesses to consider hiring the veteran," Brown said.
Each company honored has hired at least one veteran since taking the pledge.
Jerome Rader, vice president of human resources at MBS Textbook Exchange, Inc., said veterans are great fits for specific jobs at MBS.
"In many cases they came in with a good skill set," Rader said. "We see specialized skills in computer networking, programming and administrative functions."
MBS has hired more than 40 veterans since signing the pledge in January 2010.
Since the initiative was introduced, 1,770 companies statewide have pledged to aid veterans in their job search. More than 1,300 veterans have been hired so far.
The Columbia companies awarded include:
- Midway Electric, Inc.
- University of Missouri Health Care
- Mortgage Research Center, LLC.
- Reality House Programs, Inc.
- First Student, Inc.
- MBS Textbook Exchange, Inc.
- Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans' Hospital
- OCCI, Inc.