Jim Finley, Minnesota’s top expert on military veteran employment issues, is retiring after 40 years of service to the state. Finley, 63, has long been the director of the state’s Office of Veterans Employment Services in the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
“It’s been 40 years. As much as I love this work, I understand the value of keeping things fresh…the timing was right,” Finley told Twin Cities Business on Monday – his last day in the office for the state.
Through a number of programs, Finley’s charge was to help veterans navigate the civilian world and find jobs after the end of their military service, as well as to help companies find veterans to hire.
His departure is not going unnoticed.
In a statement, DEED Commissioner Steve Grove had high praise for Finley: “For more than 40 years, Jim Finley has worked to place Minnesota veterans into quality, stable employment. Jim’s contributions to the State of Minnesota and its veterans have made lasting impacts, and will continue to do so for years to come. Jim is well-respected by his colleagues both here in the state and across the country. Minnesota will miss having such a valuable public servant. Congratulations on a successful career and best wishes in retirement, Jim.”
Finley, an Army veteran, said that he wants to continue to be active in veterans-related issues.
“I intend to stay close to the work,” said Finley. “I plan to stay as busy as I want to.”
Twin Cities Business ran an in-depth Q&A with Finley in 2017 as part of its ongoing coverage of veterans’ employment issues.
“There are things that remain constant,” said Finley, “and one of those things is for as long as I’ve been doing this with veterans and employment, it’s always been about the mission.”