Columbia businesses join 5,000 others to help employ veterans

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COLUMBIA - Businesses in Columbia are joining thousands of others in Missouri to help give veterans a place to work.

Gov. Jay Nixon announced Friday the Show-Me Heroes initiative reached 5,000 pledged employers. The program was launched in 2010 to encourage Missouri employers to hire veterans.

Jenna Begley, business development specialist for American Home Care in Columbia, said its role is to actively put itself out there as a place friendly towards veteran employment. 

"This just gives a place for veterans to go where they can look up their job skills and say 'oh, this is where I would like to work' and the Show-Me Heroes helps out with that process," Begley said. 

Currently, American Home Care, which takes care of sick or disabled veterans, has four veterans employed. However, Begley said she hopes to increase that number. 

"We're trying to employ veterans to help other veterans in their home because there's that camaraderie there," she said. 

Susan Robertson, director of American Home Care, said programs like Show-Me Heroes are necessary, but there is always more that could be done. 

"When it comes to veterans reintegrating there are absolutely not enough resources available," Robertson said. "There aren't enough funds out there. There aren't enough programs out there. I mean, what I can do as a local company in mid-Missouri I'm very eager to do. I wish there it were more, it's not enough."

Begley said helping veterans is an extremely worthy cause. 

"They've done everything. They're the reason we're in business," she said. "They're the reason we can enjoy our freedom and our free enterprise system that allows us to go anywhere and help them in the first place. So we owe them everything."