Nearly one million veterans today are unemployed: Vietnam Era: 271,000; Cold War Era: 290,000; Persian Gulf War Era: 174,000; and Iraq and Afghanistan veterans: 260,000. And, according to the Bureau of Labor statistics, the numbers are growing, particularly among veterans who served post-9/11.
Legislation introduced earlier this month by Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, aims to increase opportunities for veterans to get the skills they need to become employed.
The Veterans Opportunity to Work Act of 2011 (H.R. 2433) would, among other things, enable 100,000 veterans to receive up to one year of skills retraining benefits; give states flexibility in using funds for direct training services for veterans; and strengthen protections to ensure National Guard & Reserve members have their jobs when they return home. In addition, Transition Assistance Program (TAP) classes, which provide service members about to be discharged job-seeking skills, such as résumé writing, would be made mandatory for all service members.
“Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) is pleased to see that the Committee has made employment of veterans one of its highest priorities,” said Carl Blake, National Legislation Program director. “Paralyzed Veterans knows the difficulties veterans face when leaving the service—especially those who have suffered catastrophic injuries—and we have made veterans employment for this population of veterans one of our primary missions.
“An agenda that focuses on employment for veterans of all ages and abilities is critical, and we applaud the Committee for meeting this challenge head on and urge them to continue to focus on ways to reduce veterans’ unemployment.”