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The Right Place for Veterans

As part of its ongoing strategy to address Nebraska’s growing workforce needs, the Nebraska Chamber recently partnered with the Nebraska Department of Labor, private employers, community colleges and veteran support groups to form “The Good Life for Veterans” initiative.

You can learn more about “The Good Life for Veterans” at

Part of the program’s mission is to recruit separating or retiring military personnel to the Cornhusker State. To do this, the Nebraska Chamber has participated in job fairs at regional military installations such as Fort Sill in Oklahoma; Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma; Fort Riley in Kansas; and Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota.

Thanks to affordable housing and other low costs of living, outstanding employment opportunities, outdoor recreation, clean environment, low crime rates and tremendous access to medical care, Nebraska is one of the best places for those who have served our nation in uniform.

Recently, financial website ranked Lincoln No. 1 out of the 100 largest U.S. cities for veterans, while Omaha was No. 6. The study was based on 19 different measures within two general categories: economic wellness; and environment, education and health.

In a similar comparison, online publication NerdWallet in 2015 composed a list of the best places for recently retired veterans to live. Papillion, which is just outside Omaha, made the list’s No. 4 spot and boasted the lowest rate of veterans living below the poverty line.

When it comes to education for veterans, Nebraska is a no-brainer. The University of Nebraska-Omaha, which is well-recognized for its high graduation rates for military veterans, was recently ranked No. 1 in Military Times’ “Best Colleges for Veterans” 2015 rankings. Central Community College – with campuses in Hastings, Columbus and Grand Island, and learning centers in Holdrege, Kearney and Lexington – was named the nation’s best two-year college for veterans. Bellevue University made the top five list for best non-traditional and online college programs. Also, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s online graduate business and online graduate education programs were second best in the country for veterans, according to U.S. News and World Report’s recent comparison.

Nebraska is already home to more than 142,000 veterans, according to census data. To encourage more veterans to make Nebraska home, state lawmakers have recently enacted veteran-friendly legislation. For example, in 2015, LB272 became law to allow private employers to voluntarily adopt a veterans hiring preference. Nebraska also enacted LB987 to exempt a portion of military retirement pay for recently retired veterans. Specifically, the State of Nebraska allows a veteran to make a one-time election, within two years after separation from military service, to exclude portions of military retirement benefits. The veteran may choose one of two options: Exempt 40 percent of military retirement benefits for seven years after separation date; or exempt 15 percent of military retirement when he/she turns 67.

For so many reasons, Nebraska offers veterans the good life.

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