U.S. Senator Dean Heller cosponsored the Careers for Veterans Act this week. Introduced by Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), this bill would help create long-term, sustainable jobs for America's veterans by transitioning the skills they gained through their service into jobs in the civilian workforce. By making licenses and credentials in their chosen fields more accessible, this legislation will help our nation's veterans and their families by opening up career opportunities for them without adding to the national deficit.
"Considering we have the strongest military in the world, the skills and training that service members receive are top-notch. Allowing these men and women to put their skills to use immediately will lead to stronger communities and small businesses throughout the United States. I'm also pleased that this legislation includes measures to ensure surviving spouses and dependents are eligible for small business benefits after the death of a veteran, which I have also introduced along with Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV). Thank you to Senator Burr for his leadership on this common sense solution to help alleviate unemployment among our nation's veterans," said Senator Dean Heller.
The legislation provides for better transfer of small businesses to spouses following the death of a service-disabled veteran owner or active-duty service member. This is the same measure included in the Veterans Small Business Protection Act introduced on March 1, 2013 by Senators Heller and Joe Manchin (D-WV).
"America's military men and women have been trained in specializations that can be applicable in civilian life, and simplifying the transition of these skill sets into civilian careers makes the most of the skills they have developed and provides employers in the public and private sector with well-trained, competent employees," Senator Burr said. "This is a common sense move both for veterans and for our nation's job creators."
The Careers for Veterans Act would require the Director of Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to coordinate with federal agencies and departments to hire 10,000 veterans to fill existing vacancies, utilizing the Veterans Recruitment Appointment (VRA) authority over the next five years. OPM would have to report to Congress 180 days after enactment regarding implementation and would report yearly to Congress to describe the types of jobs veterans were hired for, grade and pay level, and the number of veterans converted to career appointment.
The bill would also direct individual states to establish a program to administer examinations to each veteran seeking a license or credential without requiring that they undergo training or apprenticeship if they receive a satisfactory score on completion of the examination and have at least 10 years of experience in a military occupational specialty that is similar to a civilian occupation for which the state requires a license or credential.