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Central Region

central-minnesota-mapCentral Minnesota is a manufacturing stronghold, with several global manufacturing firms operating there.

The region is especially well known for its expertise in food processing, printing, furniture manufacturing, appliances, machinery and heavy equipment manufacturing.

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Home to Thousands of Veterans

11/1/2018 8:02:14 AM

Luke Greiner

Almost 49,000 veterans call central Minnesota home, the largest number outside of the Twin Cities. Although the majority of veterans have served without incurring a service-connected disability, 30 percent of central Minnesota veterans have at least some level of service-related disability, higher than any other region of Minnesota. Statewide, roughly a quarter of veterans have a service-connected disability.

The service-connected disability ratings assigned to veterans by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are different than the disability system used by the Social Security Disability Insurance program, and therefore not comparable.

The St. Cloud VA Health Care System in Stearns County specializes in serving veterans who have separated with any condition other than dishonorable. The St. Cloud VA Health Care System is the only comprehensive facility for veterans in Greater Minnesota, and the only other VA Health Care System besides the VA Health Care System in Minneapolis.

Areas of care provided include primary and specialty care, mental health care, surgical and specialty care, urgent care, acute psychiatric care, telemedicine, extended care and rehabilitation, imaging, laboratory and pharmacy services.

Specialty care services include audiology, cardiology, dentistry, hematology, oncology, optometry, orthopedics, podiatry, pulmonology, urology and rheumatology.  An Ambulatory Surgery (same-day) Center opened in the fall of 2011 and provides access to additional outpatient surgical procedures.

The medical center's Community Living Center (extended care and rehabilitation) provides skilled care through home-based primary care, nursing home care, adult day health care, ventilator-dependent care, memory care, hospice care and a variety of rehabilitation programs.

The St. Cloud VA Health Care System operates three Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) in Alexandria, Brainerd and Montevideo.

The St. Cloud VA is currently hiring for over 25 positions, ranging from physicians, psychiatrists, and psychologists to LPNs and nursing assistants to information technology specialists and food service workers. Most of these positions require post-secondary education, and also offer competitive wages. The salary offers for physicians and administrators at the VA were over $100,000 per year, advanced practice nurses started at nearly $80,000 annually, staff nurses were starting above $60,000, LPNs were at $35,000, and a position for a food service worker was posted starting at $15.36 per hour.

Many of these positions and wage offers line up with current data from DEED’s Job Vacancy Survey, which show several openings for physicians, psychiatrists, and nurse practitioners in Central Minnesota with median wage offers just below $50 per hour, registered nurses at $28.50 per hour, and LPNs at $18.47 per hour.

With the only VA Health Care System in Greater Minnesota located in the middle of central Minnesota, there is a higher percentage of veterans, as well as a higher percentage of veterans with a service-connected disability in the region. Access to service is highly valued, perhaps helping to explain the higher than typical rates of veterans with service-connected disabilities found in Stearns County and the surrounding counties. In fact, counties with the second, third, and fourth highest percentage of veterans with service-connected disabilities in the state are found in central Minnesota near the St. Cloud VA.

Check out this interactive data visualization to see more details on the disability ratings of veterans in each county.

Percent of Veterans with a Service-connected Disability, 2016

For More Information

Contact Luke Greiner at 320-308-5378.

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