Joint Hearing of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the U.S. Senate and the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs of the U.S. House of Representatives at 1:00 p.m. CDT.
More to Do to Help Veterans Find Employment
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, with the announcement of the rise in jobless claims, the focus at this morning’s hearing of the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity was on finding opportunities, and reviewing existing programs, to help unemployed veterans find meaningful employment. The hearing examined how the federal government can better connect resources for unemployed veterans at the state level, reaching veterans in communities across the nation.
“The news is full of stories of veterans facing difficulties as they return to the civilian workforce,” stated Rep. Marlin Stutzman, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity. “Even though the overall veteran unemployment rate is lower than the non-veteran rate, in some segments of the veteran workforce, younger veterans are having a more difficult time finding employment than non-veterans. We need to make sure that our returning veterans have the tools they need to succeed.”
Efforts over the past two years, including the popular Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP), have helped lower unemployment for veterans significantly by putting veterans on the path to find long-term employment in today’s new economy. More than 64,000 veterans have been approved for VRAP to date, with another 26,000 slots still available.
In addition, several pieces of bipartisan legislation aimed to assist veterans in finding jobs, and to help veterans use educational benefits to meet their career goals, are stalled in the Senate, including the Improving Transparency of Education Opportunities for Veterans Act of 2012 (H.R. 4057), which passed the House September 11, 2012.
“If we truly want our student-veterans to grow into the leaders of tomorrow, we must arm them with good information on higher education and offer them clear recourse against schools that fail to deliver on their academic promises. H.R. 4057 is a simple bipartisan solution that seeks to do just that,” said VFW National Commander John Hamilton. “We thank Congressman Bilirakis, Congressman Braley, and their colleagues on both sides of the aisle who have listened closely to the veterans’ community and done the hard work to get their bill through the House. We now urge the Senate to ‘Finish Strong For Veterans’ by quickly passing this bill that will better prepare our veterans for the next phase of their lives.”
“This bill is needed to ensure that veterans have access to the necessary information to best decide where to use their valuable and hard-earned GI education benefits to meet their future career aspirations, and I hope the Senate will send the bill to the President,” said the bill’s author and Full Committee Vice-Chairman, Rep. Gus Bilirakis.