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Public Statements

Congressional Veterans Job Caucus

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. KIRK. Mr. President, more than 2 million Americans have served our Nation in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other post-9/11 missions around the world. Now, as these men and women return home, they are confronting yet another challenge--finding a job.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment among younger veterans has reached staggering proportions. Nearly one-third of all veterans aged 18-24--and more than half of female veterans in that range--are unemployed.

Roughly 800,000 veterans call Illinois home. And in 2010, Illinois' veteran unemployment rate was the fourth highest in the country.

That is why I joined with my good friend and colleague, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), in forming the Congressional Veterans Jobs Caucus. And 1 year later, 35 Senators and 46 Representatives from across the political spectrum have joined the effort.

We are bringing together government and business leaders, veteran service organizations, and educational institutions to identify solutions to reduce vets' unemployment. And I am proud to report that several Illinois employers, such as State Farm and Caterpillar are stepping up to help.

At a time when so many see a divided government, we owe it to our veterans to cast aside our differences and work across the aisle to help solve this problem.

Thank you, Mr. President.


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