Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Representatives Jeff Denham (R-CA) and Tim Walz (D-MN), co-chairs of the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Veterans Jobs Caucus, today kicked off activities for the 113th Congress during a "Day on the Hill" highlighting the Caucus' commitment to increasing veterans' employment and the "I Hire Vets" initiative.
"Few issues unify Congress more than providing veterans the benefits and respect they have earned and deserve," Senator Manchin said. "In the last year alone, our Caucus has added over forty new Members and eight corporate partners who have pledged to hire 200,000 veterans over the next five years. This is just one way we are keeping our country's commitment to the men and women who have served us so bravely."
"Our men and women in uniform shouldn't have to come home and fight just to make ends meet," said Senator Kirk. "The Veterans Jobs Caucus demonstrates a commitment to put more than two million returning skilled service members back to work. As a U.S. Navy Reservist, I have served with some of the most talented men and women our nation has to offer, and it is heartening that business leaders across the country recognize the tremendous value these veterans possess. Companies like Wal-Mart and UPS hiring more veterans sends a strong message that others should follow their lead."
"Our goal as a nation is to provide those who serve with the opportunity to achieve the American Dream; to utilize their skills, support their families, and have passion for their work," said Rep. Walz. "Make no mistake about it, employing a veteran is not only morally right, it makes sense economically as well; veterans provide employers with a strong, skilled, and dedicated workforce. Put simply, veterans know how to get the job done. The veterans working in my office exemplify this every day and I'm proud to spearhead this bipartisan mission with my colleagues. I encourage all Americans to join us in this just cause."
"We all know the economic crisis facing our country and how hard it is to find work; the same is true for our veterans," said Rep. Denham. "We must welcome these men and women home with open arms and empower them to use the skills they have to get jobs. I'm proud to work with my colleagues in the House and Senate on both sides of the aisle to uphold our commitment to our veterans, and we invite members of the public -- especially business owners -- to join us in this important mission."
The Congressional Veterans Jobs Caucus was first launched last Congress as a bipartisan, bicameral effort to help the 857,000 veterans in our nation who are unemployed. There are currently thirty-eight Senators and forty-six Representatives that have signed on to the Congressional Veterans Jobs Caucus, and twenty-four veteran or military service organizations have endorsed the bipartisan Caucus.
The Congressional Veterans Jobs Caucus has three goals:
Promote veteran hiring across the public and private sector by increasing the awareness of veteran unemployment and the skills our men and women in uniform bring to civilian life. This includes the Caucus' "I Hire Veterans" program in the House, Senate, and across the public and private sectors. The "I Hire Veterans" logo is our yellow ribbon symbol that allows Congressional offices, government agencies, and companies to proudly display that they employ a veteran, current or former member of the Guard or Reserve, or a military fellow.
Engage on veterans' employment issues by working with the private sector, government, and service organizations to remove barriers that our nation's veterans face in their search for employment.
Hold monthly Member or staff-level events to share information on veterans' employment initiatives.
These efforts include partnering with private sector employers that have also endorsed the Veterans Jobs Caucus and support the "I Hire Vets" initiative through their own veteran hiring; currently eight major corporations have signed on, including most recently Wal-mart and United Parcel Service (UPS), who sat down with the Caucus co-chairs today to discuss their joint efforts.
"Walmart is pleased to join the Congressional Veterans Jobs Caucus and to advance the work of hiring our nation's heroes," said Bill Simon, President and CEO Walmart U.S. "Walmart has committed to hiring 100,000 veterans over the next five years, and we are grateful that Senators Manchin and Kirk and Representatives Walz and Denham are making veterans a priority on Capitol Hill. By bringing together employers and elected officials, we can drive real change on behalf of those who served our nation in uniform."
"As someone who has served for nearly 22 years in the National Guard during my 29-year UPS career, I am one of more than 23,500 military veteran UPS employees," said Chris Peck, UPS East Region Vice President for Human Resources. "UPS is committed to creating career opportunities for our heroic veterans, and the Congressional Veterans Job Caucus is a great example of how public-private partnerships can strengthen Veterans employment opportunities."