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Mr. KINZINGER of Illinois. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your hard work in bringing this forward. I just want to thank all my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for supporting this bill.
Unemployment rates continue to be far too high among our veterans who are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. These returning men and women deserve a smooth transition from the military into the civilian workforce. As a Nation, we must recognize the experience and education that our military-trained EMTs receive. It's inefficient to force these well-trained veterans to start over with basic training in the civilian workforce after aiding wounded men and women who were severely injured in combat. We must recognize military-trained EMT skills and education and streamline the process so these honorable men and women can quickly return to work here at home.
I'm a pilot in the Air National Guard. One of the things that really brought this to my mind is, as a pilot, I went through my pilot training and was able to take an equivalency test in which I was granted, basically, the civilian equivalent of what I learned in the military. And you realize those are very obviously transferable skills. And to be able to bring that into the civilian workforce has done great for airlines and commercial piloting and everything, frankly, related to aviation in the civilian world.
This bill is a commonsense way to help our veterans as they transition back to civilian life. By supporting States to make the process more efficient, veterans with military EMT training will more quickly become certified civilian EMTs. In doing so, returning veterans will not have to start over at square one in their training and can enter the civilian workforce much sooner.
One other point to make in this is that in rural areas--and I represent a lot of rural areas in Illinois--there is a shortage of emergency medical technicians in small towns. But there's not a shortage of folks coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan--veterans in these small communities. To be able to do this small step in ensuring that the rural areas, the rural municipalities and our veterans are matched with jobs where there is need is, I think, a very positive step in the right direction.
I would urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this great piece of legislation.
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