Michigan State Police is looking to fill hundreds of state trooper jobs, with a special eye towards veterans.
Recruiters say those with military experience are a good fit for state police.
"Since we are a paramilitary organization the transition is a lot easier, the structure of Michigan State Police fits perfectly with what the veterans are used to in any one of the five branches of service," Trooper Marco Jones explained.
This is the first major hiring blitz for state police in decades. It's driven primarily by Governor Rick Snyder's new committment to public safety in the state budget. With the additional dollars there, State Police could add up to 400 troopers.
While the agency is encouraging all candidates to explore the career and take the civil service exam, State Police says veteran's existing skills will give them an edge.
"They're going to get a person who's dedicated, they're mission focused, they know discipline, they know how to take orders, they know how to give orders," Gary Aten, with Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve said.
Just ask Jones, he served with the Coast Guard prior to joining State Police. "I've enjoyed my decision for 22 years now," Jones said.
Workforce experts say the invitation to vets comes at a crucial time. Veteran unemployment is high in the state, particularly among those who've recently returned from Iraq and Afghanistan. The ESGR says in some units, 25 percent of returning service members are unemployed.
"Michigan men and women volunteered at a pretty high rate for military service, but we don't do a particularly good job of getting them back into civilian life," Doug Stites, with Capital Area Michigan Works said.
Stites is hoping a federal tax credit under the VOW to Hire Heroes Act and an improved economy turns that around. For profit employers can receive up to $9,600 for each veteran hired, while tax-exempt organizations can earn up to $6,240.
Veterans support groups, like ESGR, are also stepping in holding statewide job fairs and posting email job alerts.
"Those people that are coming in and serving in the military, they're kind of the cream of the crop," Aten said. "So as an employer you're getting a person who's a much higher quality employee.
State Police will be recruiting March 3 in Lansing. The session will begin at 2:00 p.m. at the Michigan Library and Historical Center. Interested applicants are encouraged to bring their spouses.