U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) applauded the Senate's 95-1 vote on Tuesday afternoon on the motion to proceed to the Veterans Jobs Corps Act (S. 3457). This bill would invest in our veterans and ease their transition back to civilian life by increasing training and creating job opportunities in conservation and resource management jobs, and give veterans prioritized placement in first responder positions like polic,e firefighters, and emergency medical technicians.
"Veterans are tested leaders who have learned how to manage people through some of the most difficult situations imaginable," Senator Coons said. "The men and women of our armed forces work hard protecting our nation during their tours of service, and it's our responsibility to help ensure that they find employment once they return home. The Veterans Jobs Corps Act will help ease our returning soldiers' transition from combat to civilian life by providing them with the training and tools they need to secure high-quality jobs here at home. With more than 225,000 unemployed post-9/11 veterans all across this country, including thousands in Delaware, we cannot turn our backs on those who fought for our freedom. I applaud my colleagues for coming together to advance this important legislation and I urge them to vote in favor of final passage later this week."
Specifically, the Veterans Jobs Corps Act would:
Create a veterans jobs corps to employ veterans in conservation and resource management jobs;
Establish a pilot program to provide veterans with access to the Internet and computers to assist in job searches;
Offer the military's Transition Assistance Program to eligible veterans and their spouses at sites outside military installations in order to make it easier to relocate in pursuit of job opportunities;
Give veterans prioritized placement in first responder positions, such as police and firefighters;
Require minimum funding levels for veterans' outreach and employment programs.
Senator Coons has been an outspoken advocate for enhancing veterans' opportunities for employment. In May 2011, he joined Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chair of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, in introducing the Hire America's Heroes Act, which requires broad job skills training for all service members returning home and improves direct federal hiring so more service members have jobs waiting for them when they leave the military. He was also a cosponsor of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, which included provisions of the Hiring Heroes Act and provides tax credits to businesses that hire veterans who have been looking for work for more than four weeks and provides nearly 100,000 veterans with an extra year of GI Bill education benefits. The Vow to Hire Heroes Act was signed into law on November 21, 2011.