Congressman Steve Stivers (R -- Columbus) today introduced legislation to help make it easier for returning veterans in the fields of health care and transportation to find employment once they are home. The legislation came from an idea shared by a group of veterans at a roundtable held by Stivers in the fall, including: Angela King, Dustin Crum and David Warnock.
King, Crum and Warnock are all currently students at OSU and part of the Ohio State Vets for Vets Program. King served multiple deployments as a Navy medic, Warnock did two tours in Iraq as an infantryman in the Army, and Crum served as a medic in the Army and was deployed to Iraq in 2009.
"I am grateful to a group of our local veterans for bringing this problem to my attention," Stivers said. "With the number of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, we need to make every effort to help our returning troops get back to work right away. There is no reason if someone can perform a job when serving in a war zone, they can't do the exact same job back home, once they leave the military."
This bill would make it possible for service members who are trained by the military to do jobs such as truck driver or nursing assistant to receive the necessary certification to do those equivalent jobs in the private sector when they leave service.
"I am thankful for the chance to have my voice heard," said King. "It has been a pleasure to work with Rep. Stivers on these very important veteran issues. More so, I appreciate his active support of the veteran community. I believe that his legislation is a step to making real changes in the ease of transition for returning veterans."
The current unemployment rate for veterans stands at around 13.1 percent. By allowing military training in a comparable field to count toward certification in the private sector, it will help get veterans back to work more quickly once they return home.
"This bill will not only help veterans be more competitive in the job market but also help them get better jobs," said Crum. "In the army I administered medication to wounded soldiers and was responsible for their lives, but outside the army I can't even do an I.V. There are a lot of people that don't want to or can't go to college after separating from the military; this bill will give those people more options for the future."
Specifically, the bill would apply when a veteran is seeking State certifications or licenses for a state tested nursing assistant, EMT, certified nursing assistant, registered nurse or commercial truck driver. To encourage states to comply with this change, the bill requires states to take veterans' past training into consideration for certification in order to be eligible to receive certain grants from the federal government.
"This type of legislation could potentially ease the transition for thousands of capable, and employable veterans to civilian life," said Warnock.
Stivers is a career soldier and has served over 26 years in the Ohio Army National Guard and holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He served the United States overseas during Operation Iraqi Freedom in Kuwait, Iraq, Qatar and Djibouti where he led 400 soldiers and contractors and is proud that each and every one returned home safely to the United States.