Billings Second in Hiring Heroes - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Billings Second in Hiring Heroes

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Veterans say Billings is a veteran-friendly city, especially for jobs. A USAA study shows Billings is ranked second in the nation among small metro areas for best places for jobs for veterans.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall veteran unemployment rate is two percent higher than the national average. But, Vietnam War veteran Monte Woodard says he's had more opportunities in Billings than anywhere else.

Woodard says it has been rough for him since he got out of the military.

"I just didn't have a job or too much alcohol. Alcohol was the main problem."

He was homeless and then came to billings for the Volunteers of America's veterans transitional program. The VOA veteran's services director says 77 percent of the vets the organization is helping are employed.

"Billings from my perspective has been really open to hiring veterans," said Billy Holder, VOA veterans services directors. "There are a lot of veterans businesses in town and if someone's looking for work, again from my perspective, I haven't seen a problem with someone securing employment."
"When I was looking for a job, it seemed like if you were a vet they were more willing to help," Woodard said. "The city of Billings, you know, was more willing to help veterans more than anybody else."   

The skills vets have attract employers.

"I think there's a camaraderie among veterans," Holder said. "That coupled with the experience they gain being in the military. It could be health care, communications, transportation."

Woodard says he wants to stay in Billings, and continue working here for good.