U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson today co-sponsored the Careers for Veterans Act, a bill that 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 bill will help our nation's veterans and their families by opening up career opportunities for them without adding to the national deficit.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C. Additional co-sponsors include Senators Dean Heller, R-Nev., John Cornyn, R-Texas, and John Boozman, R-Ark.
"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."
"This is a commonsense approach to addressing the long-term employment needs of our nation's veterans," said Senator Isakson. "The men and women of the United States military have learned valuable skills through their service to our country. Many of these skill sets are also needed in the civilian workplace, and this bill goes a long way in ensuring that veterans can leverage their skills into civilian careers. Our servicemen and women are highly motivated and make some of the best employees. We should help them enter into the civilian workforce so that employers can benefit from their talents and abilities."
"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.
"In Texas, we know the value of the remarkable commitment and sacrifice our service members and their families make on our behalf," Senator Cornyn said. "Our veterans deserve that same level of commitment from their government. This bill takes a significant step towards assisting unemployed veterans by cutting out the mess of red-tape that currently greets members of our military as they transition from military to civilian life."
"Our veterans have a proven successful work ethic and they deserve every opportunity we can provide them with the options long-term, meaningful employment," Boozman said. "The specialized skills they learned as members of the Armed Forces are an asset to any business and we certainly ought to seize the occasion to provide them priority consideration for careers in government service and other sectors."
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. In addition, it includes several sensible small businesses that will assist veterans who are attempting to navigate VA's service disabled veterans owned small business (SDVOSB) verification process, as well as providing for better transfer of small businesses to spouses following the death of a service disabled veteran owner or active duty service member.