Wisconsin is home to the only Veterans Chamber of Commerce in the Midwest region. The Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce was created by a veteran who served in Afghanistan, but returned home to discover a gap between the business and veteran community.
In 2015, Saul Newton, executive director of the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “People don’t know much about veterans. We’re hoping to educate businesses on why it’s good to hire veterans,” said Newton.
On May 25, 2017, the chamber is hosting the Wisconsin Veteran Business Conference at Concordia University Wisconsin, 12800 N. Lake Shore Dr., from 10am – 2pm. The conference includes a ticketed luncheon, free workshops and a veteran business expo. Keynote speakers at the luncheon for this half-day conference include Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, and Jacob Leinenkugal Brewing Company President & Chief Beer Merchant, Dick Leinenkugal.
“There will be 200,000 service members coming off of active duty each year over the next five years and we owe to those who are serving our nation and who have served our nation to ensure they have terrific job opportunities to continue to give back to our communities in Wisconsin. Today’s veterans come from our nation’s best trained, all-volunteer fighting force in a generation and our military today is perhaps the most diverse of any work environment. Wisconsin’s businesses can thrive with that type of talent,” Leinenkugel said.
Newton agrees with Leinenkugel’s statement. Newton told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Veterans have values, dedication, integrity and discipline. “Those values don’t go away when they take their uniforms off. That’s what makes them good employees and good business owners.”
The Wisconsin Veteran’s Business Conference will showcase the state’s top veteran talent and to celebrate the achieves of those in the business industry making strides to hire veterans. Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele said, “You can’t go wrong when you hire a veteran or support a veteran-owned business. Trust me when I tell you I’ve experience this firsthand — from the Office of Emergency Management and County Parks, to Child Support Services and Facilities Management, Milwaukee County has transformed into a model government, setting national records and delivering high-quality services. The veterans leading those divisions are a big part of our success. Their commitment to public service and getting the job done right the first time is second-to-none.”
The Wisconsin Veterans Business Conference will also provide four free workshops to the public at no cost, but registration is required to learn from entrepreneurship, business development, workforce development, and community engagement experts.