Upon returning home from serving, veterans have yet another difficult task to face — finding a job. These men and women, who have just spent their days and nights fighting for their country, come home ready and willing to get to work, and they often find that there are very few available jobs.
The Veteran Assistance Employment Act of 2010 was introduced in April for this reason. This bill, sponsored by several senators, touches on all areas that challenge unemployed veterans. It will amend the Small Business Act in order to provide programs for veterans to help them find jobs after returning from one of the most difficult positions one can hold in this country. According to the bill, this program will “designate veterans’ business centers to provide entrepreneurial training and counseling to veterans in areas in which the number of veterans, especially veterans of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, exceed the national median.”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), announced the legislation in New York at the end of May, stating that: “more than 21 percent of [younger, 18-24 year-old] veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are unemployed.” The overall unemployment rate among veterans is 14.7 percent from 2009. This is an alarming number that needs special attention in order to be decreased.
The focus of this bill will be to improve training and enhance the skills veterans obtained while they were serving, which will increase the success of placement services and overall employment. Veterans will also be encouraged to open their own businesses and companies, as well.
Current Veterans organizations will be encouraged to implement new programs and revamp their current ones to reach out to veterans. For example, the Veterans Business Center Program will be a big help in providing assistance to those veterans who are entrepreneurs. This is a great area to focus on, because more businesses opened means more jobs and marketing opportunities.
Touching more on training and job improvement, the bill will also expand the Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefits. This means that apprenticeship and training programs will now be included, which will help veterans obtain the necessary licenses and certificates to explore new careers. Mark Walker, a member of The American Legion, stated: “Veterans deserve all the job opportunities we can give them — in health care, IT, green jobs — so they can take care of themselves and their families.”
Steve Robertson, legislative director for The American Legion, said, “Veterans have so many transferable skills that most potential employers need — solid work ethic, self-discipline, reliability, mission-oriented and team players.”
Currently the bill is in the Referred to the Committee stage. Often bills do not make it past the committee; however, this legislation is so imperative and well received that it is likely we will see success and more jobs for veterans in the near future.
Photo thanks to foreversouls under creative common license on Flickr.