NWA Council notes military impact on the regional economy

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 78 views 

The U.S. military’s impact on Northwest Arkansas exceeds $150 million annually, according to a report issued Tuesday (Nov. 26) from the Northwest Arkansas Council.

“The Military in Northwest Arkansas” economic impact report on the importance of the Arkansas National Guard, the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks, and military retirees and veterans who live in Benton and Washington counties is the first in a series of periodic overviews of certain aspects of the region’s economy.

According to the council, the report recognizes the “significant efforts of Northwest Arkansas’ largest employers, including Walmart Stores, Tyson Foods and J.B. Hunt Transport Services” to hire “thousands of military veterans, benefiting both the new employees and the companies.

Northwest Arkansas was noted earlier this month in a report put out by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes project as the nation’s seventh-best place among mid-sized cities for veterans to find a job.

Findings from the report include:
• $134.3 million is the annual payroll of the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks, which includes the Fayetteville hospital and six community-based health clinics.

• $33 million annually is how much the Veterans Health Administration paid for military veterans to receive medical services at non-affiliated hospitals and clinics. That kept veterans from waiting to schedule services at more distant Veterans Health Administration facilities.

• $31 million is the annual operational spending of the Arkansas National Guard in Benton and Washington counties.

• 31,782 military veterans live in Benton and Washington counties, which is about 7% of the population.

To recognize the military presence in Northwest Arkansas, the Arkansas National Guard’s 142nd Fires Brigade has been invited to join the council.

“Having Troy and the 142nd join us is a great reminder of the important role the Arkansas National Guard plays in Northwest Arkansas and statewide,” Mike Malone, president and CEO of the Northwest Arkansas Council, said in a statement.

Link here for a PDF from the council detailing the military impact.