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Southwest Region

southwest minnesota mapSouthwest Minnesota is a national leader in agricultural production, and renewable energy.

The region's thriving manufacturing sector includes food processing, machinery, printing, metal products, and computers and electronic products.

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Veterans in Southwest Minnesota

11/8/2022 9:00:00 AM

Luke Greiner

There were more than 22,000 veterans living in Southwest Minnesota in 2020, accounting for about 7.3% of the region's adult population. These veterans are aging – half are Vietnam era veterans, and another 20% Korean War and World War II veterans, with the remaining 30% serving in the Gulf War in 1990 or newer conflicts or serving in the military without deployment in a conflict. Almost two-thirds (63.5%) of the veterans in Southwest are 65 years or older, compared to about 21% of nonveteran adults.

In addition to the extraordinary value of each veteran's service to our nation, they continue to make significant contributions to Minnesota's economy and communities as well. Nearly 6,500 veterans between the ages of 18 and 64 are participating in the labor force in Southwest Minnesota. As such, these veterans have an 80% labor force participation rate, though that is slightly lower than the participation rate for nonveterans from 18 to 64 years of age. Unemployment rates are also slightly higher for veterans than nonveterans (Table 1).

Table 1. Employment Characteristics, 2020
Labor Force Southwest Minnesota Minnesota
In Labor Force Labor Force Partic. Rate Unemp. Rate Labor Force Partic. Rate Unemp. Rate
Total Labor Force, 18 to 64 years 191,189 83.6% 3.2% 83.4% 3.8%
Veterans, 18 to 64 years 6,435 79.9% 3.5% 80.9% 3.9%
Nonveterans, 18 to 64 years 184,754 83.8% 3.2% 83.5% 3.7%
Source: U.S. Census American Community Survey, 2016-2020 5-Year Estimates

This may be a reflection of the higher rates of veterans reporting a disability, though that may also be due to the older age profile of veterans in the region. In 2020, about one-third (33.2%) of veterans reported having a disability, compared to 12.6% of nonveterans. Another unique demographic characteristic of veterans is that about 94% are men, compared to 6% women.

Current or former military members that are looking for work are encouraged to contact the dedicated CareerForce Veterans Employment Specialist in Southwest Minnesota for assistance. CareerForce can help veterans who are looking for help with career planning and job search, or just getting connected with other resources.

In Southwest Minnesota, the Veterans Employment Specialists are:

Katie McNair
(Blue Earth, Brown, Faribault, Le Sueur, Martin, Nicollet, Sibley, Waseca, Watonwan)
Email: katherine.mcnair@state.mn.us
Call (Office): 507-344-2619
Call (Cell): 507-226-6527

Rebecca Kaas
(Big Stone, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Rock, Swift, Yellow Medicine)
Email: rebecca.kaas@state.mn.us
Call (Office): 507-476-4043
Call (Cell): 507-226-6582

DVOP Coverage

For More Information

Contact Luke Greiner at 320-223-6992 or Amanda O'Connell at 320-441-6571.

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