Skip to Main Content

TN Dept. of Labor Held as National Model for Veteran Hiring

Friday, May 24, 2013 | 07:47am


NASHVILLE – The Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s Paychecks for Patriots hiring event held last year was not your average job fair, and the qualities that made it a unique hiring event for veterans has caught the attention of both labor officials in other states as well as the federal government. Next Friday, the Commissioner from the Georgia Department of Labor is visiting Tennessee to find out more about what made this event a success.

Himself an Army veteran, Commissioner Burns Phillips of the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development says the state is in a unique position to help vets. “This is really how state government should work because as we leverage the resources of the different departments we are also developing lasting relationships with these employers. For other states to be interested in how we did things is a great honor.”

Last October Labor, along with lead sponsor Dollar General, held Paychecks for Patriots that included 13 concurrent job fairs across the state. The event boasted 92 hiring employers with 4,000 jobs and 2,400 veterans attending. The lineup of Tennessee employers included heavy hitters like Nissan, Eastman Chemical Company, FedEx, CCA, and HCA. There was no charge for employers to participate, and only one requirement . . . the employer must have available positions that fit the skill sets of veterans.

Tennessee’s model for success involved a collaboration of state agencies such as the Department of Military, Veterans Affairs, and Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) together with private sector employers.

In May 2013, Florida successfully held their first Paychecks for Patriots and held simultaneous events in 10 cities that included 200 businesses and 2,000 vets in attendance.

Georgia plans to be the third state to implement the event in October of this year. "Veterans are our number one priority at the Georgia Department of Labor," said Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. "With nearly 80,000 veterans returning home to Georgia over the next few years, it is our responsibility to find them a place in the workforce. We owe our heroes the highest level of dedication and commitment. The Georgia Labor Department is happy to be coordinating with Tennessee and other states on this great project."

Dollar General continues to be the lead sponsor and is the catalyst in expanding the event to other states. “Dollar General is deeply committed to the military community, which is reflected in the thousands of veterans we hire each year,” said Bob Ravener, Dollar General’s executive vice president and chief people officer. “Dollar General is proud to collaborate on this innovative public-private partnership and is coordinating with the Tennessee military community to match employers dedicated to assisting veterans and their families find careers that best meet their backgrounds and aspirations.”

The federal government also has a close eye on Tennessee’s veteran placements. Last year the National Chairman of the National Committee for ESGR, James Rebholz, flew in from Washington to attend Paychecks for Patriots in Nashville.  “Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel around the country to address unemployment issues, I believe we should use the Tennessee model to parlay the success you have and share it with the rest of the country so that we can accomplish our mutual goal of creating a strong economy of employers employing guard and reserve members.”

The Tennessee Department of Labor will hold the second annual Paychecks for Patriots on October 17, 2013 at 13 Tennessee Career Centers across the state. Details about this and other hiring events can be found at or call Melinda Williams at (615) 253-6674.


-# # #-

Press Releases | Labor & Workforce Development