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Opening Statement of The Honorable Michael Michaud, Ranking Member, Committee on Veterans' Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives

Thank you, Mr. Chairman for holding this important and timely hearing this morning.

Providing veterans with opportunities for employment is a top priority for this Committee.  In a tough economy, we want to make sure we are doing everything we can to help our veterans succeed in making the transition from active duty to securing gainful and meaningful employment. 

This is especially important as we look to future servicemembers leaving the military in greater numbers.

Any employer should be proud to have an employee with the resiliency, leadership and collaboration skills that are fundamental to all our service men and women.  Far too often, these experiences are not readily translated to match the needs of the private sector.  It takes imagination, and a bit of work, but in the end the effort is worth it:  businesses can get access to highly skilled and motivated individuals, and veterans can build careers that can benefit their families and their communities.

This morning I look forward to hearing about the successes and challenges our witnesses have faced, and their recommendations when it comes to hiring veterans.  I look forward to hearing how public and private entities can better work together to provide a better transition to servicemembers entering the workforce.  I look forward to hearing from our witnesses regarding best practices and how these can be used to inform the private and public sector in helping veterans find jobs.

Most of all, I look forward to hearing from our friends in the private sector about how our country’s veterans are continuing to serve this nation by contributing their skills and talents to these forward - leaning companies.

Maintaining our Nation’s economic leadership in the decades ahead will require highly skilled and educated employees who will lead the technological charge.  Veterans have proven their leadership and can-do qualities in service to our country.  They represent an untapped resource to provide this next generation of employees.  Our job, on this Committee and in this Congress is to find ways to explore new and innovative ways to assist veterans, and the businesses that wish to hire them.  This includes identifying what works and what doesn’t, what must be modified and what must be viewed anew.

Thank you Mr. Chairman and I yield back the balance of my time.