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Linn County, Cedar Rapids receive veteran-friendly 'Home Base' designation

Linn County Supervisor Ben Rogers speaks Friday about the Linn County and Cedar Rapids receiving “Home Base” designation during a ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Building in Cedar Rapids. (Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance)
Linn County Supervisor Ben Rogers speaks Friday about the Linn County and Cedar Rapids receiving “Home Base” designation during a ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Building in Cedar Rapids. (Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Linn County and Cedar Rapids recently cleared the necessary bars to become Iowa’s newest “Home Base” communities, or “centers of opportunity” for veterans looking to start new careers.

Created by former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad in May 2014, Home Base Iowa was designed to incentivize veterans to live in the state and for Iowa businesses to hire them.

More than 2,400 businesses and 27 colleges and universities statewide have become “Home Base” partners to date. Collectively, they have pledged to hire more than 15,000 veterans, according to a Monday news release.

“Linn County is currently home to approximately 15,000 veterans and a proud supporter of Home Base Iowa’s mission of making Iowa a ‘state of choice’ for veterans, transitioning service members and their families with career opportunities,” Linn County Supervisor Ben Rogers said during a ceremony Friday in Cedar Rapids.

“The Home Base Iowa Community designation signifies that Linn County is a welcoming place for veterans and will help us attract potential veteran workforce to the area.”

More than 1,000 veterans have submitted resumes through Home Base Iowa’s website over the last 18 months, according to the news release.

“As businesses and communities look to attract quality employees and assist veterans and their families, becoming a Home Base Iowa Community helps a region connect with our veteran population, all while creating great opportunities in the state,” said Jaime Norton, veteran coordinator with Iowa Workforce Development.

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Communities can earn the “Home Base” designation by developing an incentive package for veterans, obtaining a resolution of support from local governing bodies or if 10 percent of a community’s eligible businesses become program partners and pledge to hire veterans.

Linn County and the city of Cedar Rapids met each of those requirements, said program manager Jason Kemp.

Among Iowa’s other financial incentives for veterans are an exemption from paying state income taxes on federal retirement benefits and permission for public and private employers to give preferential treatment in hiring decisions.

Comments: (319) 398-8366; thomas.friestad@thegazette.com

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