Over the course of the next five years, the U.S. Armed Services will downsize by at least 350,000 troops – many of whom have been living overseas for several years. With this tremendous influx of military professionals entering the job market, Governor Branstad and General Orr saw an opportunity to honor our country’s veterans while simultaneously bridging Iowa’s skills gaps. This opportunity later became the Home Base Iowa initiative. Home Base Iowa is a non-profit, private-public partnership that aims to recruit veterans and active duty service members for private-sector job opportunities in Iowa. As veterans seek civilian careers, Home Base Iowa will provide the tools they need to succeed. Home Base Iowa will be used to recruit our nation’s best and brightest to Iowa, providing Iowa employers with qualified workers who already possess highly sought after skills – leadership, critical thinking, problem solving, and time management, just to name a few.
Recently, the state of Iowa introduced a number of new military-focused benefits that will aid veterans as they relocate to Iowa. Known as the Home Base Iowa Act, these provisions further the overall initiative and express our state’s appreciation for veterans and their families.
The Home Base Iowa Act was passed by the Iowa Legislature including the following incentives for veterans:
- Military Pension Income Tax Exemption: All military pensions will be fully exempt from state income tax.
- Military Homeownership Assistance Program: Substantially increases the funding so that $5,000 will be provided through the Iowa Finance Authority program to eligible veterans for the down payment or closing costs of a home.
- Permissive Veterans Preference: Allows for private businesses to provide veterans preferential treatment in hiring decisions.
- Occupational Licensure: Iowa’s occupational licensing boards will adopt rules that allow veterans to receive credit for military training and experience in the licensing process. These boards are also required to ease licensure restrictions on spouses of military veterans.
- License Plates: Eligible applicants will receive veterans-related license plates (for example Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and Gold Star) for free.
- Education: The State Board of Education has created a uniform policy granting automatic in-state tuition to veterans, their spouses, and their dependents at Iowa’s community colleges. The Governor will also convene stakeholders from the community colleges, Regents universities, private colleges and universities, and the veteran community to develop consistent policies for awarding academic credit for military training and experience.
All Iowa businesses and communities are encouraged to join the Home Base Iowa initiative. Together, we play an important role in giving back to our nation’s veterans and bettering our state. For those communities and businesses interested in becoming Home Base Iowa Companies and Home Base Iowa Businesses, contact Kathy Anderson at 515.725.3149 or firstname.lastname@example.org.