Cook County’s commitment to expand opportunities and programs for veterans moved another step forward today when the Board of Commissioners granted preference to veterans applying for County employment positions.
Veterans who meet the minimum qualifications of a position will automatically be interviewed for a job opening, under a newly amended ordinance. Previously, the ordinance limited the preference to positions requiring a competitive written exam.
“I believe it’s important for the County to offer encouragement, support and opportunity to the thousands of brave servicemen and women who are coming home from Afghanistan and who served so nobly in places such as Iraq and Vietnam,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said. “We also value the outstanding qualities veterans can bring to the County, including leadership skills, discipline, dedication and a willingness to work hard.”
The new amendment was sponsored by Cook County Commissioner Jeffrey Tobolski, Edwin Reyes, John Daley, Robert Steele, and Larry Suffredin.
This is the latest step President Preckwinkle and the Board of Commissioners have taken to help veterans in the County.
In December, the County created the Department of Veterans Affairs and appointed Bill Browne as its director. The department plans to launch an outreach program for veterans employed by the County. Its purpose is to promote a positive workplace environment for those with prior military service and establish a networking tool for veteran-employees. The program will include workshops to inform veterans of services and other assistance available to them.
The department is also seeking grants that will expand job and educational opportunities for returning servicemen and women.
“Our continuing goal is improve the economic well-being and quality of life for veterans residing in Cook County,” President Preckwinkle said. “We want to offer veterans the support they need.”
The County funds the Veterans Assistance Commission of Cook County, which provides qualified, honorably discharged veterans with financial assistance for housing and utilities and connects them to resources for employment and educational opportunities.