BELLINGHAM – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced the December 1st launch of the Massachusetts Veteran Friendly Employer Certification Program, enabling Massachusetts-based small businesses to qualify for the recently enacted $4,000 state tax credit for firms that provide job opportunities and retain the Commonwealth’s veterans.
Ahead of Veterans’ Day, Governor Charlie Baker visited Heidrea Communications, a Bellingham-based wireless infrastructure construction firm, to discuss the tax credit with co-founders, and United States Marine Corps veterans, Jesse Brown and Matt Mastroianni.
Jesse and Matt were in attendance earlier this year when Governor Baker first announced the administration’s plans to pursue the veterans tax credit in the 2017 State of the Commonwealth Address and Fiscal Year 2018 budget, highlighting Heidrea as a veteran-owned firm hiring those who have served in the United States Armed Forces. Heidrea employs approximately 70 individuals, almost half of whom are veterans. The tax credit was enacted in the final budget signed by Governor Baker in July.
“Our veterans and their families make great sacrifices for our Commonwealth and country, and we are committed to helping them find job opportunities when they return from active duty,” said Governor Baker, in a statement. “We were proud to pursue this tax credit and the support it provides for our returning heroes and the companies that employ them in meaningful careers to support their families.”
Statute provides companies with fewer than 100 employees to receive up to a $4,000 tax credit, over two years, for hiring a qualified veteran, following certification by the Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS) as “veteran friendly.” DVS has partnered with New England Tech Vets (NETV), an initiative of the Massachusetts High Technology Council, on the online education and certification program to train local businesses on the recruitment and retention of veteran employees. Certifications can be renewed or extended every two years.
“As we celebrate Veterans Day, we appreciate the Legislature answering this proposal to support Massachusetts businesses who provide jobs for those who have served our nation,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, in a media release. “Despite the challenges that can come as military personnel readjust to civilian life, our veterans bring diverse experiences and skills that can empower them to thrive, and their employers to grow and succeed.”
“Massachusetts continues to lead the way in developing innovative strategies to encourage and empower veteran employment,” said Department of Veteran Services Secretary Francisco Ureña, in a statement. “Through growing awareness and education initiatives like the Massachusetts Veteran Friendly Employer Certification Program, it is our hope that more employers will recognize the remarkable value veterans bring to the workforce.”
“As Marine Corps veterans, Matt and I know firsthand the critical skills that military men and women develop during their service to our nation, and we are proud of our company’s commitment to returning veterans and their families,” said Jesse Brown, co-founder of Heidrea Communications LLC. “We are grateful to Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito, not only for their support of our Commonwealth’s servicemen and servicewomen, but for recognizing and rewarding the contributions of veteran-owned businesses and the Massachusetts veteran workforce.”
NETV will be providing the online certification program effective December 1st at no cost to the Commonwealth or its employers, and will include recruitment and training content focused on the addressing the invisible wounds of war in the workplace and providing ongoing social supports to retain veteran employees.
Nationally, the veteran population includes 20 million men and women who have served in active duty, according to U.S. Census data. Approximately 336,000 of those veterans live in Massachusetts—comprising over 6% of adults in the Commonwealth.