Charles Clark, a member of the Chester L. Briggs American Legion Post No. 47, salutes the flag Friday morning during the annual Veterans Day ceremony in Houlton. Credit: Joseph Cyr / Houlton Pioneer Times

Fewer veterans secured jobs through a state hiring program last year, but those who did saw large wage increases.

The Hire-A-Vet Campaign placed 186 veterans, including 40 women last year. The program helped 217 veterans back in 2021, and it routinely secured jobs for close to 300 veterans before the pandemic.

Leo Deon, veterans program manager for the Maine Department of Labor, said fewer veterans visited the state’s career center last year, which could be a result of low unemployment and a tight labor market.

“I definitely think that’s a contributing factor,” he said. “And I also think that employers are being extremely competitive, with attracting not just veterans but you know job seekers in general to their business. And so they’re able to increase wages some.”

Those hired last year were placed in higher-paying jobs requiring more specialized skills.

“This year… a dentist was hired,” Deon said. “And numerous high-wage, high-demand jobs were filled by veterans in health care, in production, in fabrication. We’re talking project managers; mid-to-high-level supervisors were hired. That has greatly impacted our increase in the hiring wage.”

Veterans on average made slightly more than $33 an hour last year, $9 dollars more than the year before.

This story appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.