4 Minnesota companies named best places for veterans to work

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Four leading Minnesota companies are among the country's best places for veterans to work, according to a survey released Thursday morning.

U.S. Bank, Ecolab, Hormel Foods and Xcel Energy are all on the Military Times's "Best for Vets: Employers 2015" list.

The news service says it compiled the 74-company list by sending lengthy surveys to employers across the U.S. The questions in that survey were aimed at finding out whether each company's culture, hiring practices and policies are friendly to America's veterans.

However, not all those who responded made the cut, Military Times points out.

Three of the Minnesota companies who did – U.S. Bank, Xcel Energy and Hormel – were also on last year's list, but it's a particularly important milestone for Hormel.

The Austin-based food processor, known for Spam, Skippy Peanut Butter and many other brands, is on the Best for Vets list for the third year in a row.

“We are honored to receive this recognition for our veteran employment initiatives,” a company official said in a news release. “The skills, training and work ethic of veterans have proved to be an asset to our company.”

Hormel says it was also recognized by G.I. Jobs magazine as a "2014 Military Friendly Employer."

The Rankings

So how did the Minnesota companies stack up?

Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank came in 29th place, and received high marks for offering an attractive benefits package to its veteran employees. That includes medical and life insurance, pay raises, retirement contributions, sick days and vacation days – hitting all those marks is not something every company in the survey can boast.

Xcel Energy, also of Minneapolis, was ranked 55th. The utility company was recognized for devoting 50 percent of its recruiting budget to hiring veterans.

St. Paul-based sanitation company Ecolab and Hormel were ranked 66th and 68th place, respectively.

Ecolab also provides generous benefits to its employees, while Hormel spends a large chunk of its hiring budget to recruit armed services members, according to the rankings.

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