Washington, DC— Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and U.S. Representative Jeff Miller (R-FL), Chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, commended an agreement reached to boost employment opportunities for veterans.
After serving our country honorably, all veterans deserve the chance to earn a paycheck and support their families. Unfortunately, the unemployment rate for veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan remains stubbornly high. The “VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011” contains bipartisan provisions to ensure that all service members transitioning to civilian life receive the job training skills they need to find a job to be competitive in today’s tough economic climate. The legislation is fully paid for through offsets.
“This agreement is a bipartisan and comprehensive approach to getting our nation’s veterans back to work,” said Chairman Murray. “It includes Republican and Democratic ideas because getting our veterans the financial security and dignity a job provides should never be partisan. For too long in this country we have patted our veterans on the back for their service and then pushed them out into the job market alone. By advancing this legislation we are giving our veterans the job skills to get their foot in the door and incentivizing employers to make sure that door is open to them.”
“Today, we are putting aside politics and putting America’s veterans first. This is how the process should work,” stated Chairman Miller. “The VOW Act, which passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support, provides the framework for this legislation and gets to the root of many of the employment problems our veterans face such as the inability to compete in today’s job market and a seamless transition from active duty to civilian life. As in any negotiation, neither party gets everything they want, but we found common ground as the House pledged to do in September. I am hopeful that through the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, we can break the logjam of legislation that is currently pending and get all unemployed Americans back to work.”
• Expands education and training opportunities for older veterans by providing nearly 100,000 unemployed veterans of past eras and wars with up to 1-year of additional Montgomery GI benefits to go towards education or training programs at community colleges or technical schools for high-demand jobs.
• Makes the Transition Assistance Program (TAP)—an interagency workshop coordinated by Departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs—mandatory for service members moving on to civilian life to help them secure 21st Century jobs through resume writing workshops and career counseling.
• Provides disabled veterans up to 1-year of additional Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Benefits.
• Works with the states to create a licensing and credentialing standard for returning service members to break down the barriers to find meaningful employment in their military occupations.
• Allows service members to begin the federal employment process prior to separation in order to facilitate a truly seamless transition from the military to jobs at VA, Homeland Security, or the many other federal agencies in need of our veterans.
• Strengthens the protections for members of the National Guard and Reserve in the workforce to minimize hostile work environments.
• Provides a tax credit of up to $5,600 for hiring veterans who have been looking for a job for more than six months, as well as a $2,400 credit for veterans who are unemployed for more than 4 weeks, but less than 6 months. Also provides a tax credit of up to $9,600 for hiring veterans with service-connected disabilities who have been looking for a job for more than six months.