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On the eve of Veterans Day weekend, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert issued an executive order directing state departments to identify ways to bolster hiring of military veterans.

"Our veterans have freely given their time, sweat and blood to serve this great state and nation," Herbert said in a statement. "Each and every veteran deserves an opportunity to continue that service through employment opportunities here at home. The state of Utah will serve as a model employer for our veterans."

Utah has more than 165,000 veterans, military personnel, National Guard troops and reservists. Unemployment for veterans in the state remains higher than the overall jobless rate.

The governor's order directs the departments of Human Resource Management, Workforce Services and Veterans and Military Affairs to determine what percentage of the state workforce veterans represent and develop a strategy to increase or maintain the levels of veteran employment.

The order also calls for increased outreach among veterans groups.

Robert Gehrke