Congressional Record Statement of Senator Daniel K. Akaka
Mr. President, I am pleased to join my distinguished colleague, Senator Smith, in honoring our Nation's veterans through passage of S. Res. 365. We are days away from honoring veterans for their sacrifices with a national day of recognition on November 11. Our resolution would urge the President to order a proclamation calling upon employers to make special efforts to recruit and hire veterans this Veterans Day.
As chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, I am well acquainted with the employment issues facing veterans , members of the Guard and Reserves, and their families as they seek to move from the military to the civilian workforce. Making these transitions is never easy, but for younger veterans it can be particularly difficult. For members of the National Guard and Reserves, the return to a job they previously held may be challenging for a variety of reasons. For family members, the uncertainty of multiple and extended deployments poses different obstacles. Finally, the obstacles facing those who are disabled during their service can sometimes seem overwhelming. The needs of these individuals deserve our utmost attention and resources.
Despite these problems and challenges, veterans make good employees. They know how to work, and they bring with them a wealth of expertise and experience. I believe the employment data supports my belief since rates of unemployment for veterans generally are lower than their non-veteran counterparts. However, the rate of unemployment for younger veterans and those recently separated from active duty tends to be higher than their non-veteran peers.
This resolution would highlight the actions that employers can take to honor the sacrifices of our Nation's veterans and allow them to use the skills learned while in service to their country. Veterans have made sacrifices serving our Nation. When they come back from that service, it is our responsibility as legislators to aid them in returning to the civilian world. Having a job can be one of the greatest steps a returning servicemember can make in successfully reintegrating into civilian society.
I am honored to stand with my colleague in honoring the veterans of the Nation, and I urge my colleagues to join us. It would be my hope that employers around the country take up this proclamation as a best practice and continue to look at veterans as their first choice when making hiring decisions.
November 8, 2007