By Jefferson Tyler, Multimedia Journalist
OTTUMWA, IA (KYOU) – The Ottumwa City Council unanimously approved a resolution tonight, making the city part of Governor Terry Branstad’s Home Base Iowa Initiative program. As part of the program, veterans could qualify for incentives like lower interest rates, and job training in apprenticeships and internships.
“This program brings veterans into the area,” said U.S. Army Veteran Carrie Ries.
“They know they are welcome they know they are welcome. They know there are opportunities for them. Because this is Home base,” said Terry Bradley Wapello County Veteran’s Affairs Director.
“If they’ve been in the military, they’re usually disciplined enough that they go to work. They work every day. They know their skill levels. So it can be a real benefit to a company to have people who are in internships or apprenticeships,” said Ottumwa Mayor Tom Lazio.
Ottumwa is looking to take the program even further. Working with local banks to bring down mortgage rates for veterans. Creating contacts to help veterans expand their own businesses,
and increased employment opportunities.
“It’s something that would make me want to stay here,” said Ries.
Not only could in bring veterans into the area, it also helps retain former service men and women who are already here. Like Army Bridge Crew Member, Carrie Ries who sells art over the internet.
“It would make things easier. It would help me get more sales in Iowa,” said Ries.
It could end up paying off big for the city and its taxpayers.
“They are obviously paying sales tax. Property tax. So there is a benefit to the taxpayer, because it broadens the tax base,” said Mayor Lazio.
And reward men and women for their service.
“They’re the ones that signed their name on a blank check for everything up to including their life. To defend their lives. Why shouldn’t you support them?,” said Bradley.
If Ottumwa qualifies to become a Home Base Initiative city. Local jobs will be listed on the website. And city resources can be used to help veterans find business connections and job opportunities.
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