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Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, a military career is one of the most honorable professions that our young men and women can pursue, and each of us is indebted to our veterans for their service.
In this challenging economic time, it is more important than ever that we do what we can to connect well qualified veterans not just with jobs, but with careers. Our veterans demonstrate the skills, knowledge, leadership and professionalism that allow them to excel in almost any career field if they are given the right opportunities.
How we treat this generation of military veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan will influence the next generation of young men and women who might consider a career in our military. Unfortunately, we sometimes fall short when it comes to connecting veterans with jobs, and some veterans struggle to find careers that allow them to achieve their full potential.
That is why I have been involved for several months now in a unique partnership of U.S. utility industry leaders to actively recruit and employ returning veterans. Troops to Energy helps our veterans successfully transition from military service into civilian careers in the utility and engineering industries.
Some reports show that a staggering 29 percent of veterans between the ages of 18 and 24 who served in Iraq or Afghanistan were unemployed last year. That is more than three times the national unemployment level and unacceptably high.
We must do better.
That is why I support the Veterans Jobs Corps Act of 2012, which will create additional opportunities for veterans to transition into career fields in which their military skills are readily transferrable.
I am not able to vote on this important legislation today because I am attending the funeral services for a dear friend, but I want the record to reflect my strong support for this legislation and for our military men and women, their families, and our veterans.
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