Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today held a roundtable discussion with veterans to talk about employment opportunities and the challenges veterans face finding employment when they return home from deployment.
"We have made progress in reducing the number of unemployed veterans, thanks in part to several initiatives focused on putting veterans back to work, but there is still much to do. The bottom line is the number of unemployed veterans is still far too high," Braley said. "The men and women who have put their lives on the line for our country deserve every opportunity when they return home. We need to continue to work to make sure that veterans can put their skills to work when they get home and that's what I am committed to doing."
According to Iowa National Guard Commander Gen. Orr, the unemployment rate among returning Iowa National Guard members has dropped from a high of nearly 25 percent in August 2011 to just below 10 percent in February 2012.
In his capacity on the Veterans Affairs' Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity, Braley has worked to reduce unemployment among veterans and create jobs for returning service members. Earlier this month, Braley introduced the Veterans' Job Corps Act that would allow the executive branch to create the Veterans' Job Corps program as a cooperative project between federal agencies. Members of the job 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 job corps would be open to unemployed veterans and unemployed widows of veterans.
Additionally, late last year, Braley passed provisions into law based on his Combat Veterans Back to Work Act, a bill that provides a tax break for businesses who hire members of the National Guard or Reserve or any unemployed veteran who recently returned from deployment. Braley originally introduced this bill in August 2011 in response to high unemployment rates among veterans, including roughly 600 members of the Iowa Guard who had recently returned from Afghanistan and were looking for work. Currently, Iowa businesses are able to take advantage of this tax credit when they hire unemployed veterans.