Standing with student veterans at Adelphi University, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy today announced bipartisan legislation to help provide education and job training for young veterans and streamline the certification processes for civilian jobs. Both members are also encouraging all Long Island businesses to participate in local Veterans employment events later this month.
Last year, Senator Gillibrand hosted a roundtable with local business and veterans leaders to discuss innovative ways to address veterans' unemployment on Long Island. As a result, Senator Gillibrand and Rep. McCarthy helped pass a bipartisan VOW To Hire Heroes Act to address unacceptably high rates of unemployment among veterans by ensuring that all troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have the necessary tools for a seamless transition from military service to the civilian workforce. This law included measures to incentivize their hiring and ease their transition into the work force. Now Senator Gillibrand and Rep. McCarthy are working on legislation that would make training more accessible, protect veterans' access to education, and ease hiring processes for veterans.
"This new legislation is an important investment for our heroes," Senator Gillibrand said. "We must provide veterans with access to the necessary resources which allow them to get the education, job training and appropriate licensing that will ease their transition from military life to the civilian work force. Our veterans have earned this and it's the least we can do to give them the appropriate tools needed to be successful in their life after the military."
"We have the best colleges and universities in the world, and our vets are the hardest working and most highly skilled workers anywhere," said Congresswoman McCarthy, a member of the House Education and Workforce Committee. "We should be doing everything we can to make sure that these heroes are able to go to school or enter the workforce -- or both -- as they return to civilian life. I'm proud to work with Senator Gillibrand and our colleagues across the aisle on this critical effort."
"We are proud to partner with Senator Gillibrand to improve the education and job training opportunities for veterans. Since the end of World War II, Adelphi has had a strong heritage of welcoming veterans to campus seeking to further their education under various G.I. bills," said Adelphi University President Robert A. Scott. "Veterans now, as then, bring extraordinary experiences to our classrooms and workplaces but need, and deserve, our assistance in reentering civilian life. Adelphi will reaffirm our commitment to this cause when we host our Veterans Employment Summit on May 23."
The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that in 2011, more than 12 percent of veterans who have served post 9/11 are unemployed.
Make TAP Training Accessible For Veterans And Families
The VOW To Hire Heroes Act made the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) mandatory for all departing servicemembers. TAP gives veterans an opportunity to gain job training, understand their benefits, and practice skills like resume writing and interviewing. Yet many veterans never had the opportunity to take the program or want the ability to come back and receive additional training. The TAP Modernization Act would make improvements to TAP by offering classes for veterans and their spouses at convenient, off-base locations. In addition the legislation would require the Department of Labor's Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS) to integrate job search experts to teach the classes. The bill also authorizes a temporary extension of TAP benefits for three years through a pilot program in three to five states with the highest veteran unemployment.
Protect Veterans' Access To Education And Job Opportunities
The Military and Veterans Educational Reform Act strengthens the Post-9/11 GI Bill by ensuring that educational institutions receiving assistance through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DOD) meet commonsense requirements, including providing critical information to potential students. Additionally, the bill calls on state agencies to conduct greater outreach activities to veterans through events such as career fairs and training programs. The legislation would also streamline the complaint process for veterans who want to report instances of fraud, waste, and abuse within educational institutions to the VA and DOD. Implementing a centralized process will increase coordination between the VA, DOD and the Department of Education, which will be required to share information across agencies.
Ease Hiring Process For Veterans
Currently, veterans are held back by the bureaucratic red tape of the federal certification process that prevents them from immediately applying for jobs they are qualified for. To speed up the credentialing process for veterans and get them into the workforce sooner, Senator Gillibrand is pushing for the Veteran Skills to Jobs Act. The legislation would require agencies to recognize relevant military training and skills when certifying veterans for federal occupational licenses. Instead of spending time retraining, veterans would be able to receive a federal license if it's determined their military experience is enough to fulfill the license requirements.
In addition to the legislation, Senator Gillibrand's office is participating in two upcoming Veterans events taking place in Nassau County this month -- the Adelphi Veteran Employment Summit and "Welcome Back Warriors," All Veteran Job and Support Service Fair. Both Gillibrand and McCarthy have written to Long Island employers, encouraging them to participate in these events.
Full text of the letter is below:
We are writing today to bring your attention to the urgent matter of Veteran Unemployment. New York is the proud home to more than one million men and women who have served our country proudly and with great selflessness.
Long Island has the second largest veteran population in the Country. Too many of our troops have risked their lives protecting our country only to return home to an alarming rate of joblessness. Last year alone, an estimated 840 recent veterans Iraq and Afghanistan are were unemployed on Long Island.
We must combat this growing crisis and leverage our talented pool of veterans by providing them with a pathway toward economic success. This month two large Veteran events focusing on unemployment are taking place in Nassau County and I encourage your company to have representation at one or both of these important events. The information is as follows:
Nassau County Welcome Back Warriors- All Veterans Job & Support Services Fair
May 22, 2012
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Nassau Community College* Physical Education Complex * Garden City
or call 516-572-6565
The Veterans Employment Summit: "Find Success in a Changing World"
May 23, 2012
8:00 a.m.--1:00 p.m.
Ruth S. Harley University Center * Adelphi University * Garden City
or call 516.877.3414
These events will not only link you together with Veterans in search of careers, but they will also provide important information on Veteran employment tax credits and connect you with agency contacts that will help you to identify the benefits your business can draw from the unique skills of our veterans.
Our veterans have an unrivaled work ethic and an unmatched ability to learn highly complex skills, are accustomed to functioning as a team builders and team leaders, and are focused as well as accountable with proven track records. Our veterans are results-oriented and get the job done right the first time. Hiring a veteran will not only help combat the chronically high Veteran unemployment rate here on Long Island it, but it will also help your company recruit and retain a distinguished class of leaders.
We ask that you please give both of these events your full consideration. If you have any questions, or desire further information, please do not hesitate to contact Senator Gillibrand's Long Island Office at (631) 249-2825.