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

Today’s hearing, the first hearing for the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity of the 112th Congress, is an important one.  As all of you know, Congress is working hard to balance our budget and reduce the deficit while at the same time provide much needed services to provide employment opportunities for veterans. 

This hearing will provide us an opportunity to review the U.S. Department of Labor, Veterans Employment and Training Services (VETS) budget request for Fiscal Year 2012 and funding for Disabled Veteran Outreach Program Specialists (DVOP) and the Local Veterans Employment Representatives (LVER) through state grant programs.  VETS oversees six major employment related initiatives for veterans, these are: are Jobs for Veterans State Grants, Transition Assistance Program, Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program , Veterans’ Workforce Investment Program, National Veteran’ Employment and Training Services Institute, and the Federal Management.  I look forward to hearing how these programs will remain fully operational and effective with the new budget request.  I am also interested in learning more about the Transition Assistant Program and Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program initiatives as these two had a budget request increase for Fiscal Year 2012.

 I know that our distinguished panelists will highlight some of the deficiencies of the Disabled Veteran Outreach Program Specialists and the Local Veterans Employment Program Representatives and I look forward to hearing their recommendations on how we can improve these services while keeping a good budget.  The main purpose of DVOPs and LVERs is to provide employment services to veterans to help relieve the high unemployment rates among veterans.  We should do everything we can to ease the transition of veterans from the military to the civilian world.   This hearing is not just about problems and fixes but also about assessing the effectiveness of DVOPs and LVERs in today’s economy.  Our first priority is to be certain that all our veterans are being properly served by these programs.