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Veterans' Employment and Training Service, U.S. Department of Labor

Chairman Johnson, Ranking Member Donnelly, and members of the Subcommittee: The Department of Labor (DOL) is pleased to provide you with this statement on pending legislation.

President Obama and Secretary Solis are committed to ensuring that the men and women who serve this country have the employment support, assistance and opportunities they deserve to succeed in the civilian workforce. As a result, the Administration has undertaken initiatives to train, transition and employ Veterans; encouraged the Federal hiring of Veterans; and called upon the private sector to hire and employ America’s Veterans.

The Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) at DOL is playing an important role in these and other initiatives by providing Veterans and transitioning service members with resources and expertise to assist and prepare them to obtain meaningful careers, maximize their employment opportunities and protect their employment rights. Moreover, VETS programs are an integral part of Secretary Solis’s vision of “Good Jobs for Everyone,” and her commitment to help Veterans and their families get into the middle class and maintain financial stability.

This hearing is focused on four bills before the Committee: H.R. 2383, H.R. 2243, H.R. 2388 and Draft legislation. I will limit my remarks to H.R. 2243, the “Veterans Employment Promotion Act,” which would fall under the Secretary of Labor’s (the Secretary) jurisdiction. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) would administer the remaining legislation and we defer to the VA with respect to those bills.

H.R. 2243, the “Veterans Employment Promotion Act”

The Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974 (VEVRAA), as amended, 38 U.S.C. 4212, currently requires that certain Federal contractors and subcontractors (hereafter, “contractors”) file a VETS-100 and/or VETS-100A report[1] annually to the Secretary that contains certain statistical data on their workforce, including the number of employees and new hires who belong to the categories of Veterans protected under the statute.[2]  H.R. 2243 would modify title 38, United States Code, section 4212(d) to require DOL to publicly disclose via the Internet information contained in the VETS-100 or VETS-100A reports submitted annually by federal contractors to DOL. 

DOL supports enactment of this legislation.  In our view, providing public access to the information contained in VETS-100/ VETS-100A reports is consistent with the President’s commitment to openness and transparency in government, and supports the Secretary’s “Good Jobs for Everyone” initiative. Qualified Veterans seeking employment may find the information contained in the VETS-100A Reports useful in targeting their job search, by helping them to identify Federal contractors who employ or have recently hired Veterans with similar skill sets. Moreover, by making information contained in these reports publicly available, H.R. 2243 will encourage federal contractor compliance. However, the Department would want to work with Congress, the contractor community and others to ensure the appropriate treatment of proprietary or other confidential or protected information.

Every day, we are reminded of the tremendous sacrifices made by our servicemen and women, and by their families.  One way that we can honor those sacrifices is by providing them with the best possible services and programs our nation has to offer. Secretary Solis and VETS strongly believe that Veterans deserve the chance to find good jobs.

I again thank this Subcommittee for your commitment to our nation’s Veterans and for the opportunity to testify before you.

[1] VETS promulgated two sets of regulations to implement the reporting requirements under VEVRAA. The regulations in 41 CFR Part 61-250 requires contractors with a Federal contract or subcontract of $25,000 or more that was entered into prior to December 1, 2003 and has not been modified to provide information on the number of covered Veterans in their workforces by filing a completed VETS-100 Report annually. The regulations at 41 CFR Part 61-300 implement the Jobs for Veterans Act (JVA) amendments to the reporting requirements under VEVRAA, and require Federal contractors and subcontractors with a contract or subcontract of $100,000 or more awarded or modified on or after December 1, 2003, to file a VETS-100A Report. 

[2] For instance, federal contractors completing the VETS-100A Report are to provide information on the number of employees and new hires during the reporting period who are: (1) Disabled Veterans; (2) Veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. military during a war or campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge is awarded; (3) Veterans who, while serving on active duty in the Armed Forces, participated in a United States military operation for which an Armed Forces service medal was awarded pursuant to Executive Order 12985; and (4) Recently separated Veterans (Veterans within 36 months from discharge or release from active duty).