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House Passes Holt's "Hire A Veteran Week" Bill

Location: Washington, DC


On a voice vote today, the House of Representatives passed a bill offered by Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) that calls on the President to establish a national "Hire A Veteran" week to urge employers, labor organizations, veterans service organizations, and Federal, State, and local governmental agencies to hire more of America's veterans.

"This bill is an affirmation of Congress' commitment to encourage all employers—government at all levels, nonprofits, trade associations, and the private sector—to think of veterans first when making hiring decisions." said Holt.

Holt's bill (H. Con Res. 125) calls upon the President to proclaim an annual "Hire A Veteran" week and to use that occasion to remind employers—both government and private sector—of the value of hiring veterans. The need for a renewed national focus on veterans' employment is real and urgent.

According to the most recent U.S. Labor Department data, in August 2005, 20-to-24-year-old veterans had an unemployment rate of 18.7 percent compared with their non-veteran counterparts. For all of 2005, the annual rate was 15.6 percent for 20-to-24-year-old veterans compared with 8.7 percent for non-veterans in that age group. Women veterans also suffer higher rates of unemployment than non-veterans. Unemployment rates for women veterans aged 25-34 stand at 6.9% versus 6% for their civilian counterparts. More alarmingly, women veterans aged 45-54 have twice the rate of unemployment versus their non-veteran counterparts (7.1% versus 3.3%).

"These aren't simply numbers—these are men and women who put on our country's uniform to protect each and every one of us," said Holt. "We can and must do more to help them find good paying jobs that allow them to build a career and a life in the nation they served and protected."

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