The overall unemployment rate ticked down last month and our economy has added more than 350,000 private sector jobs over the past three months. But, over 850,000 veterans were unemployed as of October and the jobless rate for post-9/11 veterans was 12.1 percent. Having served and defended our nation, it just doesn’t make sense that so many of these well-trained, highly skilled, motivated and disciplined veterans can’t find a job worthy of their incredible talents. As the President has said, “If you can save a life in Afghanistan, you can save a life in an ambulance. If you can oversee millions of dollars of assets in Iraq, you can help a business balance its books here at home.”
Ensuring our nation’s veterans get the opportunities they have earned has been one of President Obama’s top priorities as Commander-in-Chief. Having already sent 600,000 veterans back to school on the Post-9/11 GI Bill and having hired over 120,000 veterans into the federal government, this Administration continues to take action to help create job opportunities for veterans.
Today at the White House, leading veterans service organizations joined President Obama to announce their support for the Returning Heroes and Wounded Warrior Tax Credits, two provisions in the American Jobs Act Congress is scheduled to consider this week. The Returning Heroes Tax Credit provides firms that hire unemployed veterans with a maximum credit of $5,600 per veteran, while the Wounded Warriors Tax Creditoffers firms that hire veterans with service-connected disabilities a maximum credit of $9,600 per veteran.
The President also announced a series of executive actions that will provide new resources for veterans to translate military experience to the private sector job market, give veterans additional career development support and better identify companies looking to hire veterans. These initiatives include:
Veteran Gold Card:Effective today, post-9/11 veterans will be able to visit dol.gov/vets/goldcard.htmlto download the Veteran Gold Card, which entitles them to enhanced services including six months of personalized case management, assessments and counseling, at the roughly 3,000 One-Stop Career Centers located across the country. This should help serve the more than 200,000 unemployed post-9/11 veterans. The President directed the Department of Labor to launch this initiative in his August 4, 2011 speech at the Navy Yard.
My Next Move for Veterans: The Department of Labor will launch My Next Move for Veterans (mynextmove.org/vets), a new online resource that allows veterans to enter their military occupation code and discover civilian occupations for which they are well qualified. The site will also include information about salaries, apprenticeships, and other related education and training programs.
Creating a Veterans Job Bank:Today, the Administration launched the Veterans Jobs Bank, at National Resource Directory (NRD.gov), an easy to use tool to help veterans find job postings from companies looking to hire them. It already searches over 500,000 job postings and continues to grow. Additionally, in a few easy steps, companies looking to hire veterans can make sure the job postings on their own websites are part of this Veterans Jobs Bank.
I still believe that all Americans can agree that veterans shouldn’t have to fight for a job once they’ve come home from the fight overseas. While this Administration has been fighting for veterans every day, this week we will commemorate and celebrate Veterans Day. In that spirit, I hope Congress can come together and do the right thing by our nation’s veterans. Together, these initiatives and the tax credits will lower veteran unemployment by increasing hiring, improving resources for veterans to translate their military skills for the civilian workforce, and providing veterans with new tools to aid their search for jobs.
Matt Flavin is Director of Veterans and Wounded Warrior Policy and a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan