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Opening Statement of Hon. John Barrow, a Representative in Congress from the State of Georgia

Thank you Chairman Miller and Ranking Member Filner for holding this hearing.

The employment challenges facing veterans are very real.  The call to service does not always fit into a convenient schedule of job training.  Often our service members halt education and training opportunities to serve in combat.  Today, they return as veterans to a daunting job market.  This can be especially difficult for wounded warriors, who have additional challenges in every aspect of life.

During the last district work week I had the opportunity to tour a facility in Vidalia, GA called the HARP Foundation.  The HARP Foundation offers transitional housing and resources for homeless veterans.  In particular, they help veterans find sustainable employment opportunities.  Their goal is to provide mental health counseling and job training to the veterans in their own area.  When veterans do find jobs, the HARP Foundation tries to help them find adequate transportation so they can keep their jobs in their local community.  

I look forward to hearing about ways the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Labor can work to make the systemic changes to lower unemployment for veterans across the country.  But I also would like to hear practical ways the federal government can work with and help grass roots organizations, like the HARP Foundation, to help veterans find good jobs in our local communities.