As Veterans Day approaches, U.S. Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Congressmen Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) and Tim Walz (D-Minn.), Co-Chairs of the Congressional Veterans Jobs Caucus, announced today their introduction of the United We Stand to Hire Veterans Act, a bipartisan, bicameral bill that would streamline and consolidate duplicative government job portals to better connect current and former members of the Armed Services with employment opportunities.
"We owe everything to those who wore the uniform in defense of our country," Senator Kirk said. "In honor of their sacrifices, we should provide every available resource to help our returning heroes transition to civilian life and enter the workforce. This legislation will make it easier for veterans to take advantage of government employment services with the ultimate goal of getting a high-quality job."
"Our veterans are some of the most disciplined, reliable, hardworking, and dedicated individuals in the world. They are trained to strive for excellence and exceed expectations every day. Their leadership and high-tech skills are unmatched worldwide," Senator Manchin said. "So it makes zero sense that our veterans find it difficult to search for jobs when they return home. That's simply unacceptable. The very least we can do to show our appreciation to our veterans is to help them find jobs. Like I've always said, if you want to help a vet, hire a vet, and this bill is one step toward making it easier for our service men and women to find opportunities for good-paying jobs."
"The best way to honor the hard work and sacrifices our service members make is to ensure that they enter civilian life with a quality job," Representative Denham said. "This bill streamlines the job search process our veterans go through, making it as easy as possible for them to find employment."
"Those who put their life on the line to preserve opportunity and prosperity for us, should be able to take advantage of that same opportunity for prosperity when they get home," Representative Walz said. "This bill will work to cut through bureaucratic red-tape and make it easier for our brave warriors to continue with a career in public service and find good-paying jobs when they get home."
Veterans returning home from Afghanistan and Iraq face an unemployment rate that is 3 percent higher than the national average. Today, the Departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs operate duplicative portals aimed at veterans and servicemembers searching for public and private sector jobs. Combined with a wealth of resources provided by the private and nonprofit sectors, the lack of a single government portal to connect employers with veterans makes navigating the hiring process difficult for both the job seeker and organizations looking to hire them. No requirement currently exists for government agencies to consolidate these services.
The United We Stand to Hire Veterans Act would require the consolidation of each department's online employment services into a single portal across the federal government within one year of enactment. The basic function of the portal would remain the same: connect veterans and members of the Armed Services with public and private sector employers seeking to hire people with military experience. The portal would also provide other resources to veterans like resume assistance.
Senators Kirk, Manchin and Representatives Denham and Walz, established the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Veterans Jobs Caucus to shed light on the challenges Active Duty, Reserve and guard members face as they transition to civilian life. The Caucus engages executive branch agencies, educational institutions and the private sector to help identify ways to reduce the unemployment rate of the nation's approximately 21 million veterans. To learn more about the Congressional Veterans Jobs Caucus, click here.