Founded in 1946 as a health insurer, WPS Health Solutions sought to alleviate the stress placed on Wisconsin’s health systems following the end of World War II and the return of more than 300,000 soldiers. Since then, its services have grown to reach active-duty and retired military personnel through WPS Military and Veterans Health, which serves millions through TRICARE and Veterans Administration programs.
The not-for-profit insurer’s appreciation for the military doesn’t end there. The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Solutions host families at home games and recognize them on the field during pregame activities as part of Operation Fan Mail. It actively supports Wisconsin’s Honor Flight programs, with several executives serving as guardians for the military veterans selected for the trips and employees attending the welcome-home celebrations. And it works to fill its workforce with veterans.
WPS Health Solutions currently employs 125 veterans. We recently spoke with Timothy La Sage, military affairs manager at WPS Health Solutions, about how the company supports transitioning veterans and why it actively seeks to employ individuals with military backgrounds.
Q: Why is WPS Health Solutions so active in hiring individuals with military ties, and what does the company do to recruit individuals with this background?
A: We actively recruit veterans because we’re looking for people with the characteristics epitomized by our military—driven, passionate, willing to take individual responsibility. In February, WPS was named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by the Ethisphere Institute for the 10th straight year. Those qualities come from the veterans we hire, as well as the active duty and veterans we serve day to day. WPS recruiters work with external entities that help transitioning military. We know that military folks are lifelong family and our veteran employees also assist in the pathway to employment.
WPS was the first employer to merge with the Wisconsin initiative to recruit transitioning veterans alongside the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs and Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. We also testified to Congress on behalf of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development to pass the Hire Heroes Bill, which allows veterans to be financially backed by the state to become certified in a job skill that an employer prefers they have and would guarantee their employment with the certification.
Q: What can veterans expect when they work at WPS Health Solutions?
A: Veterans can expect a team that respects their service as well as supports their comrades still serving. They can expect structure, an open community to discuss progressive solutions, mentorship by the veterans who are employed here, and an employer that cherishes their input. As initiative-based beings, we look for those that can find opportunities for WPS to grow as an ethical, green, not-for-profit corporation.
Q: What benefit do you think veterans receive from working with fellow veterans at WPS Health Solutions?
A: Veterans thrive when working with fellow veterans. Words cannot describe how efficiently military missions are accomplished as a transitioning veteran myself, I know the benefit of having fellow veterans around me—I cannot explain it to you, but it is tangible. Our employer supports us and allows us to come together as veterans to approach the corporation with ideas and needs for our group. We never leave a comrade behind, and knowing that we work together to assist active duty and veterans is a blessing. We enjoy our time together at WPS. It is nice to be on a team that works together and looks after one other outside the office as well.
Q: Why do you think Wisconsin is a great place for veterans to live and why is WPS Health Solutions a great place to work?
A: Most people do not know that Wisconsin offers more veteran benefits than any other state. We have a state GI Bill to assist your federal education benefit as well. Wisconsin is quite an amazing cultural place to live. From the climates, city life, country living, education ratings for adults and children, and an incredible group of hospitable people—Wisconsin is a great place to live. I enjoy that my fellow veterans are well established in our communities. We overlap at functions routinely, and it feels like we are a unit.
WPS is a veteran-ready, ethical corporation that embraces veterans as employees. The doctors who founded WPS recognized our World War II veterans needed health care. Nationally, WPS has many locations as well as a remote-worker program. Our jobs and many other great Wisconsin careers can be found here. Semper Fidelis!