Health system earns veteran-friendly employer certification


John Hendrick is one of the participants in the Veteran Support Services program at Spectrum Health. Courtesy Spectrum Health

A local health system has been officially recognized by the state as a Certified Veteran-Friendly Employer.

Spectrum Health of Grand Rapids was recognized with the certification last week by the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency.

Spectrum Health is the 54th employer to earn the designation in Michigan.

Spectrum also signed a letter of support last week with the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, which is an organization that encourages employers to act as advocates for employee participation in the military.

Jason Jones, manager of talent selection at Spectrum Health, said the system pursued the Certified Veteran-Friendly Employer designation, because it's “the right thing to do” and because Spectrum Health recognizes the strengths veterans bring to its organization, such as “leadership, duty, teamwork, respect, loyalty and integrity.”

To earn the certification, Spectrum Health submitted a self-assessment of its workforce to the state Veterans Affairs Agency for consideration.

There are three employer designation levels: gold, silver and bronze. Spectrum received a bronze-level designation, and it hopes to earn the silver-level designation by the end of this year.

Jones said Spectrum has several programs in place to support veterans: the Veteran Explorer Program, which is a career development program; Veteran Support Services, which provides resources and support to veteran patients; and Veteran Inclusion Resource Group, an employee group.

At the time of its application, Spectrum Health employed 600 veterans, according to Jones. He said the organization hopes to grow that number.

“We continue to look for new ways to engage more and more veterans each day with talent pipelines and the inclusion resource group,” Jones said.

A full list of Michigan’s Certified Veteran-Friendly Employers is online.

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