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Column: Veterans Need Our Help Finding Jobs

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It is a far too common occurrence that when our nation's service members come home from serving their country, they have trouble finding a job. Research has shown that America's veterans are struggling to find work, even more so than non-veteran job seekers.

Most of us will agree that when someone leaves the service, they deserve more than just a thank you without providing some help in their transition back to civilian life; but sadly, that is often the case.

Nebraska Veterans

According to an August 2012 report by the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress, there were approximately 81,000 Nebraska veterans in the workforce in 2011, and a 3.9 percent unemployment rate amongst all veterans in the state.

When looking at Nebraska's youngest veterans specifically, that unemployment percentage increases dramatically. There are about 14,000 post-9/11 veterans in the Nebraska labor force and approximately 2,000 post-911 veterans unemployed, for an unemployment rate of 11 percent among that particular sector of Nebraskans.

How We Can Help Veterans

The Senate has been working on legislation, the Veterans Jobs Corps Act , which would invest in our veterans and ease their transition back to civilian life by increasing training and creating job opportunities.

Specifically, the bill tasks the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to work with the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Interior, and the Army Corps of Engineers to employ veterans in conservation and improvement projects on public lands and as firefighters and law enforcement officers. Additionally, the legislation directs States to consider military training and experience in licensure/certification processes, specifically in reference to nursing assistants, EMTs, paramedics, and drivers requiring a commercial driver's license. This bill also includes a provision to allow for transition training at locations other than military bases.

One section of the bill is extremely important for rural states like Nebraska. It would provide veterans in rural areas with greater access to career specialists to help them write resumes, prepare for interviews and find jobs.

Finishing the Job to Help Veterans

As Americans, we must make sure that our commitment to these service members does not end when they leave the service. We shouldn't just shake their hand for a job well done on the frontlines and send them out the door to look for a job alone.

The programs in the Veterans Job Corps Act are fully paid-for and the legislation has been constructed in a bi-partisan fashion. My hope is that the Senate will find a path forward to complete work on the bill this week and the House of Representatives will soon follow suit in order to provide a much needed jobs boost to our nation's veterans.


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