Nick Saucier, a former Army sniper who spent time in Afghanistan, has found that the skills he learned in the military now serve him well as a machinist. And his employer, Bristol’s Arna Machine, has been able to take advantage of a federal tax credit for hiring a veteran.
Saucier, 25, and his boss, Arna President Stephen Shanahan, met with U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal Monday. Blumenthal toured the facility in an effort to raise awareness of the tax credits, which he said not enough manufacturers are cognizant of.
“What we’re trying to do here is make people more aware of the tax credits that exist,” Blumenthal said. “A lot of manufacturers could be taking advantage of them but aren’t because they’re simply unaware of them.”
Blumenthal said it was hard to quantify exactly how many Connecticut manufacturers are currently using the tax credits. But he said he wanted them to know their companies could potentially save thousands for hiring a vet and applying for the credit.
The size of the tax credit typically ranges from $2,000 to $3,000, depending on the status of the veteran the company hires, Blumenthal said. But manufacturers could receive up to $9,000 in special circumstances, like if the veteran is disabled.
Shanahan said of the 42 people he employs at two different locations, about a dozen once served in the military. Most are veterans of previous conflicts like Vietnam and Korea. He said that Saucier was the company’s first hire who took part in an ongoing war. Shanahan said he was looking forward to hiring more returning vets.
“Certainly the work ethic is there from the military background. The passion is there. They have a great future in a shrinking workforce,” he said.
Shanahan said the credits help him fill positions with young, qualified personnel. That’s a good thing considering the average age of his employees is about 58 years old and many are close to retirement.
Saucier, who attended Asnuntuck Community College after leaving the Army, said he was surprised by how well his military training translated into his role as a machinist.
“There are a lot of similarities, honest to God, it was an easy transition,” Saucier told Blumenthal.
For instance, he said the job of a sniper requires careful, measured actions. The same holds true for precision manufacturing, he said. Saucier said he enjoys his new job and is continuing his training, looking to establish a firm base-level knowledge. From there he hopes to branch out and to more specific types of manufacturing. He said he’s training to use computer assisted manufacturing software.
Saucier said the need to start with a foundation then advance to greater responsibilities was also a concept that carried over from his time in the Army.
“As a leader, you had to know the private’s job too,” he said.
For more information on the federal veteran tax credit visit the IRS’s frequently asked questions site here.
The state also established a program to subsidize the hiring of veterans this year in an omnibus jobs bill. The program helps businesses pay for the cost of hiring an unemployed vet for their first 180 days on the job. The bill authorized $10 million in bonding for that program.