EAGAN, Minn., Jan. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the number of Minnesota soldiers returning home after serving overseas continues to increase, so do the challenges that come with transitioning into work and civilian life. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross), which has long supported military members and their families through employment and community outreach, has been recognized as the first and only health insurance provider in Minnesota to be designated as a Beyond the Yellow Ribbon company following a unanimous vote by the State of Minnesota Yellow Ribbon Action Plan Review Board.
Overseen by the Minnesota Department of Military Affairs, the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program, established in 2008, supports service members, veterans and their families by connecting them with career counseling, professional development training and employment resources. In order to achieve a Beyond the Yellow Ribbon designation, companies must build relationships with local military leaders, identify which employees have military connections and commit to hiring and retaining veterans.
Blue Cross established a Beyond the Yellow Ribbon steering committee in 2015 through the company's Veterans' Employee Resource Group, a volunteer organization comprised of company leaders and other employees with former military service that are dedicated to creating a network to coordinate and actively support and recognize service members, veterans and military families.
As part of earning the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon designation, the steering committee works with Blue Cross human resources staff and leadership throughout the company to enhance the company's policies and programs to ensure that Blue Cross continues to recruit and train veterans and service members while actively taking part in community outreach that supports military members, veterans and their families.
"Blue Cross is committed to hiring and supporting great military talent," said Stacia Cohen, vice president for the Medicare STARS Center of Excellence and executive chair of the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon steering committee. "As an Army veteran, I'm proud that Blue Cross has the courage to hire military members and veterans who may not have resumes that line up with those that have civilian work experience, but who have the right energy, passion and skills to do the work."
Blue Cross will be officially proclaimed a Beyond the Yellow Ribbon company by the Minnesota Department of Military Affairs on January 22. The ceremony will take place at the company's headquarters in Eagan, with veterans, community leaders and state dignitaries planning to attend, including Major General Richard Nash, Minnesota's Adjutant General, Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith and U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar.
"Veterans have made personal sacrifices to serve their country, before, during and long after their service. These veterans and their families deserve support from compassionate and committed employers like Blue Cross," Kuyper said.
"Blue Cross earned its recognition as a Beyond the Yellow Ribbon company through unified and sustainable strategies that include recruiting, hiring, training and development of veterans, military-connected employee support and by connecting to military support efforts within the community," added Kuyper. "They have distinguished themselves within their industry."
For more information on the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program go to www.btyr.org
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, with headquarters in the St. Paul suburb of Eagan, was chartered in 1933 as Minnesota's first health plan and continues to carry out its charter mission today: to promote a wider, more economical and timely availability of health services for the people of Minnesota. A nonprofit, taxable organization, Blue Cross is the largest health plan based in Minnesota, covering 2.6 million members in Minnesota and nationally through its health plans or plans administered by its affiliated companies. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, headquartered in Chicago. Go to bluecrossmn.com to learn more about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.
SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota