New plan to bring military service members to Wisconsin

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- State officials on Wednesday announced a new initiative to encourage veterans and retiring service members to bring their families to Wisconsin after their service.

The "Mission Wisconsin" initiative is a partnership between the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD). The initiative is aimed at helping employers recruit service members into the workforce.

Employers can accompany teams of state officials to transition summits around the country and abroad. At these summits, they will be able to talk to service members who are getting ready to retire and talk to them about the benefits of living and working in Wisconsin.

"The reaction from our business community has been enthusiastic and supportive because this is something that they want to do as well. Not just for the potential employee, because it's the right thing to do, because veterans make great employees, they make great citizens, they want to be part of our community and part of our state and we want them to be here too," said Trisha Braun, Deputy Secretary of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

WEAU' sister-station spoke to Larry Avancini, who has been in the army for 20 years. Avancini is getting ready to retire in Dec. 2019, and he is already planning to move his family to Wisconsin.

Avancini said talking to Wisconsin officials at a transition summit convinced him to look into moving to the state. He said he has not seen another state that is as supportive to veterans and their families.

Avancini hopes to find a job in the Milwaukee or Madison area, working in technology and IT security.

More than 40 companies have started the process to be part of the "Mission Wisconsin" initiative. State officials have visited military bases in three states and have spoken to more than 800 service members.

"By those service members returning to our communities, they continue to serve after service and they bring value far beyond any quantifiable means not only to our state but to companies, in their leadership, their communication, their dedication to mission," said Steve Janke from the Wisconsin DVA.