Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) introduced legislation today to create a national Veterans' Jobs Corps, a program that would seek to put unemployed veterans back to work using skills they developed in the military -- to improve national parks, serve as police officers and firefighters, and work in communities. Braley is the highest-ranking Democrat on the House Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity.
In his January State of the Union address, President Obama called on Congress to create the Veterans' Jobs Corps. Yesterday in Albany, New York, Obama included the Veterans' Jobs Corps on a Congressional "To Do List" to create jobs. Braley consulted with the White House while crafting the bill.
"One out of every four veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan is out-of-work. The Veterans' Jobs Corps will reduce that number," Braley said. "Men and women who've put their lives on the line for our country deserve every opportunity when they return home. Why not provide them the chance to keep contributing to the nation they love, whether as firefighters, cops, or park rangers? They've already rebuilt Iraq and Afghanistan. It's time to give them the chance to help rebuild America."
The Veterans' Jobs Corps Act would allow the executive branch to create the Vets Jobs Corps program as a cooperative project between federal agencies. Members of the jobs corps could be employed to improve public lands and national parks, prevent forest fires, work in public safety jobs like police and fire departments, and control floods. Participation in the corps would be open to unemployed veterans and unemployed widows of veterans.
In his capacity on the Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, Braley has worked to reduce unemployment among veterans and create jobs for returning servicemembers. Last October, Braley co-hosted a series of bipartisan field hearings on veterans' unemployment with Indiana Republican Marlin Stutzman. In November, President Obama signed into law a pair of tax credits Braley had championed to give businesses incentives to hire unemployed veterans. In February, Stutzman and Braley held another veterans' unemployment hearing in Washington.