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Iowa Helps Veterans Move to the State

Home Base Iowa

Jathan Chicoine is the program manager for Home Base Iowa, at Iowa Workforce Development. He calls it a public-private partnership - to help veterans and their families find jobs and provide education benefits.

He says thousands of people leave the military each year.

promoting Home Base Iowa at the state fair
Home Base Iowa
promoting Home Base Iowa at the state fair

"We certainly are trying to find ways to let people know that Iowa is a great place to work, live, and play. We also partner very closely with the Iowa National Guard - you know we have a lot of guard members in the state of Iowa so we now have a Home Base Iowa career planner located at Camp Dodge to make it even more accessible for not only military personnel, but for veterans and their families."

And he says one good example is Clinton County.

"And we know that that has really been a positive return on investment for other counties that have done the same thing. Clinton County for instance has awarded over 67,000 dollars with regard to a 1,500 dollar grant, which has accounted for 5.5 million dollars in total home purchases and about 108,000 dollars increased tax revenue for the county every year."

Chicoine says a key feature of Home Base Iowa is the private part of the public-private partnership.

"By going to www.homebaseiowa.gov they can actually create a profile and answer some questions. Then our team is reaching out and will vet that information, and make sure they understand what we're about. We want to see our Iowa businesses becoming veteran-ready companies or at least really taking a step to be more culturally-competent in hiring more veterans and their families. And we're here to help them."

Jared Kleinkopf is the Talent Attraction and Inclusion Manager for the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce. He says veterans relocating to Scott County can receive 1,500 dollars to help buy a home, and 1,500 more from the city of Davenport.

He knows of four veterans so far, who've taken advantage of Home Base Iowa, to move to the Iowa Quad Cities.

"The hard part is getting the word out there, so a lot of times it's going to be not the veteran or military member at this time, but maybe they left the area to serve in the military and their parents see it on the news or on the radio where this incentive is offered to move back here and get an extra 3,000 dollars to move into Davenport or into Scott County. And it might not be us capturing the ear of a veteran or military member but somebody they know and hopefully that brings them in."

One veteran who did move here is B.J. Keating. Originally from Center Junction, near Anamosa, he was serving in the National Guard when he heard about Home Base Iowa. When he retired he got an internship with John Deere, and when the company offered him a full-time job, he and his wife decided to move back to Iowa. She's from DeSoto, near Des Moines.

Home Base Iowa gave them some money to help buy their house in Eldridge.

"1,500 dollars, you know that's a whole month's house payment or two depending on the house you buy."

"They help the veteran and the spouse to find jobs, they'll help you work through resumes, they'll connect you with different employers, and then they have some other initiatives out there too. So like in Scott County they'll do an interview expense reimbursement for any qualified veteran living outside of the county and they'll pay up to 250 dollars per visit, up to two times. That's to cover hotels and meals incurred."

He regrets not knowing about the 5,000 dollar tax credit veterans can qualify for if they get their mortgage through the Iowa Finance Authority.

"With the opportunities that Iowa has to offer, growing up in Iowa, and being back with family, my wife and I have looked and say the best decision we ever made was coming back home."

More information is available at homebaseiowa.gov.

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois. While a graduate student in the Public Affairs Reporting Program at the University of Illinois at Springfield (then known as Sangamon State University), he got his first taste of public radio, covering Illinois state government for WUIS. Here in the Quad Cities, Herb worked for WHBF Radio before coming to WVIK in 1987. Herb also produces the weekly public affairs feature Midwest Week – covering the news behind the news by interviewing reporters about the stories they cover.