To me, November represents two important things: celebrating our military veterans and expressing gratitude for the people and things we appreciate. Our veteran community, both inside and outside the City of Tucson organization, has unique needs that often cannot be fully understood by folks who have not walked in our boots. I have a great privilege and responsibility to work hard to care for our veterans and help make Tucson, and the City of Tucson organization, a place where military veterans feel connected and supported.
To honor veterans who are employees of the City of Tucson, I hosted the second annual Veterans Appreciation Luncheon. At this year’s event, city employees selected officers to take leadership of our first Employee Resource Group (ERG), which I proudly spearheaded. ERGs provide tremendous benefits to organizations, including increasing retention, improving innovation, and fostering a sense of belonging. By realizing these benefits, we are better positioned to retain our top talent and continue delivering quality services to you and your families. Creating a framework and establishing ERGs was a priority when I took office in 2019, and I’m happy to share that our veterans navigated uncharted territory and we are the first of many ERGs that will provide additional connection and support for employees in the organization. I’m a firm believer that the work we do internally trickles out into the community, and I’m excited to see how these internal organizational changes impact our teams, and ultimately impact our community in the long run.
Another key focus of mine is expanding SkillBridge. The Department of Defense’s SkillBridge program is an opportunity for Service members to gain valuable civilian work experience through specific industry training, apprenticeships, or internships during the last 180 days of service. This program provides incredible value to employers who are fortunate to have Service members working within their organizations, so the program is truly a win/win all around. I brought the SkillBridge program to Mayor and Council this time last year, and the City of Tucson is now a proud SkillBridge employer.
This month, during the November 14 Study Session, Mayor and Council will receive an update on the progress of the program during the first year, and I’ll lead in discussion on our path forward around vision, priorities, and resources to ensure support systems and programs are in place to recruit these highly qualified individuals and support their unique needs, as well as the needs of their families. To learn more, you can check out:
Happy Veterans Day and thank you to all who have served. Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving, neighbors!