Mr. SIMPSON. Mr. Speaker, fundamentally, hiring former servicemembers is a good business decision. They are a competitive business asset and a unique national resource. They represent the very best of commitment, reliability, and resolve.
· In the 107th Congress, President Bush signed into law the Jobs for Veterans Act (Public Law 107-288), which I authored with my friend SILVESTRE REYES. It established the President's National Hire Veterans Committee (NHVC) with a mission to reach out to employers and make them fully aware of the skills and attributes veterans offer to the civilian workforce. As we fight the war on terrorism, America's sons and daughters continue selflessly to volunteer for military service and then join the civilian workforce better prepared to make a significant contribution to our private economy. The NHVC expires on December 31, 2005.
· Since its genesis in 2003, the President's National Hire Veterans Committee has initiated a nationwide marketing campaign which has brought more employers seeking veterans to the Department of Labor's One-Stop Career Centers.
· NHVC launched a sophisticated website, www.hirevetsfirst.gov that helps employers and veterans while embracing the existing workforce development systems. Prior to this website there was no single national location of which I am aware for the either the employer or the veteran to find relevant information about each other.
· NHVC initiated a unique advertising campaign to attract human resource specialists, business executives, and public sector employers. These are highly effective ads conveying a message of the value that veterans bring to the workplace. To guide employers to the website, a wrap-around cover ``outsert'' program, mailed to selected executive readers of Business Week, contains interviews with four business leaders including Robert Lutz, Vice Chairman of General Motors; Jackson Moore, CEO-designate of Regions Financial Corporation; and Bob Nardelli CEO of Home Depot.
· NHVC has also been a catalyst for local and statewide initiatives to support jobs for veterans. NHVC worked with the governors of many states, including my home state of Idaho, to declare Hire Vets First month. The Committee is working directly with employers throughout America, and in a cooperative venture with NHVC, Home Depot hired over 13,000 veterans in 2004.
· Mr. Speaker, we must continue to convey the message of the competitive value and bottom-line results that veterans add to our economy. We must ensure that we as a nation properly leverage in our domestic economy the investment of over $17 billion a year in training our military. But more importantly, we must continue to commend the virtues of our veterans who have the ability to learn new skills, and a propensity for teamwork, self discipline, loyalty and many other characteristics that translate into productivity, innovation, and leadership.
· Hiring former servicemembers is good for business, it's good for veterans, and it's good for America. I urge my colleagues to supporproviding for a 3-year extension of the President's National Hire Veterans Committee.