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Opening Statement of Hon. Bruce L. Braley, Ranking Democratic Member, Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity

I would like to thank Chairman Stutzman for inviting us to the great state of Indiana.  Great to be in the Midwest where the genuine people remind me of being back in my home state of Iowa.  We are honored to be able to hear first hand the concerns of hard working Americans and heroes who sacrifice so much for our country.  We have a great list of people providing testimony and I look forward to hearing from your constituents and how we can help improve conditions for all our nation’s veterans.  

Today’s field hearing will provide us the opportunity to review existing programs that help veterans secure employment; discuss recruiting and retention tools; and review barriers to employment. 

I hope our panelists will provide insight into the shortfalls of federal and state programs while providing specific recommendations for us to consider to help improve veteran employment. I know that we have a poor economy but our veterans have acquired first rate skills that should be highly sought after by employers.  We need to help our veterans translate their experiences and help employers understand the value of these skills.  Hiring veterans is a win for the employer because they get a top notch employee with strong sense of dedication and a win for the community because it decreases veteran employment. 

Let me be very clear, we have been and remain committed to getting our nation’s veterans back to work.  This is not a VA issue, or a local issue, it is a national issue that demands our attention right now.  This is why we have come together in a bi-partisan manner and pledge to work to address the employment needs of our nation’s veterans. 

I want to thank everyone for being here today and I look forward to hearing today’s testimony. 

Mr. Chairman, Thank you for having us here in Indiana and I yield back.