(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Patty Murray and Ranking Member Richard Burr, together with Microsoft Corp., convened a roundtable discussion about training and hiring America’s unemployed veterans for skilled jobs. In August, Microsoft announced an expansion of its Elevate America veterans initiative, in partnership with the Department of Labor, to provide additional support to veterans in their transition to the civilian workforce. Attendees heard from veterans and the National Commander of the American Legion, Fang Wong, about the difficult employment landscape our returning veterans face.
“The critical issue is making sure that our men and women who come home after serving their country are able to transition into the civilian world,” said Senator Murray at today’s roundtable. “I’ve said many times that this is the most employable group of people in the world. They know how to show up to work on time, they’ve got tremendous skills, they’ve got a great attitude and just have so much to offer to our country.”
At the hearing Julius Clemente, a veteran from Washington, told his own story of struggling to find work that would allow him to translate the skills he learned while serving his country:
“My certification, my experience in the military, faces a difficult challenge of transferring over to the civilian side,” Clemente said. “The path we now face from the military to college -- life is more complicated and challenging than what I thought.”
Attendees also heard from Brad Smith, Microsoft Corporation General Counsel and Executive Vice President for Legal and Corporate Affairs, about the work they are doing to aid veterans and their spouses acquire the skills and resources that they need to be successful in today's workplace.
In June, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee unanimously passed Chairman Murray’s Hiring Heroes Act of 2011 - the first of its kind to require broad job skills training for all service members returning home. In addition to providing new job skills training to all service members, the bill will also create new direct federal hiring authority so more service members have jobs waiting for them the day they leave the military, and will for the first time require the military to provide separating servicemembers with the tools to help them find jobs when they return home.