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Veterans Skills to Jobs Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CONNOLLY of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 4155 and yield myself such time as I may consume.

I want to thank the sponsors of H.R. 4155, especially Mr. Denham and Mr. Walz, for their dedicated service to our Nation while in uniform and for their commitment to supporting our veterans here in Congress.

I deeply value and appreciate the sacrifices made by the men and women in our Armed Forces, and I'm proud to represent thousands of them who reside in the 11th District of Virginia, a district that takes military service very seriously and holds it in high esteem.

I believe that we here in Congress have a sacred duty, Mr. Speaker, to provide for their well-being. For that reason, I strongly support efforts to expedite the transition of our Nation's warriors to civilian life. We need to do all we can to help these dedicated veterans find gainful employment. It's a shameful fact that the men and women who volunteer to safeguard our country are having so much trouble finding steady, good-paying jobs. A double-digit unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans--almost double the national average--is simply unacceptable.

Transitioning to civilian life is difficult under any circumstance; however, this hardship is compounded when veterans cannot easily translate their military skills into careers in the Federal or private sector workforce through no fault of their own.

In addition, there's the task of educating employers to better understand that so much of military training is readily transferrable to civilian job requirements in the private sector.

We need to do better for our veterans, and I believe H.R. 4155 is a strong step in that direction. It would require each agency with Federal licensing authority to treat relevant military training as sufficient to satisfy training or certification requirements for Federal licenses. This will help our returning servicemembers get credit for their military training towards a license which they can use to get Federal or private sector jobs and reintegrate into civilian life.

The Federal Government, private sector employers, and our economy will benefit by being able to take full advantage of their talent, unique skills, and experience as veterans.

Mr. Speaker, the Senate has already passed an identical version of this noncontroversial, but important, bill by unanimous consent. I urge all Members to support this bill that will enable our Nation's veterans to get back to work.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. CONNOLLY of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, with that, let me just urge my colleagues, in the spirit of bipartisanship, to come together and support our veterans and to make opportunity more available. It is, as I said, a sacred duty, it seems to me, that those men and women who are willing to put on that uniform and serve their country ought to be treated with respect and dignity and a job when they come home, and this bill will go a long way to doing that.

With that, I yield back the balance of my time.

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