U.S. Sens. Mike Johanns and Mark Pryor filed an amendment Tuesday for the Defense Authorization which is designed to make it easier for returning veterans to find civilian jobs.
The amendment, Helping Iraqand Afghanistan Veterans Return to Employment at Home Act, encouragesstates to consider the training service members receive during active duty whendetermining eligibility for state licenses and certifications.
Johanns is a member of the Veterans' Affairs Committee and believes many service men and women have the necessary skills for civilian jobs.
He said, "Many of our servicemen and women perform technical jobs like operating heavymachinery or serving as a paramedic, and do so with great skill in a demandingenvironment. Yet when their tour of duty is complete, they often find theydon't meet the certification requirements outlined by state licensing agenciesto do the same job at home.
"Our amendment seeks to do away with this common yetunnecessary hurdle that often stands between veterans and civilian employment.Helping our returning veterans find good jobs here at home is a small gestureof thanks compared to what they have done to protect our freedoms."
Pryor added, "Many veterans have already demonstratedproficiency through military training and experience, and they have done sowhile performing in a war zone. Our bipartisan bill would encourage states toconsider service members' experience so we can eliminate the expensive andtime-consuming hurdles service members often face as they re-enter theworkforce."
The unemployment rate among veterans is well above the national average with post-9/11 veterans at 10 percent unemployment. That number is even higher for female veterans, whose number hits 15 percent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Johanns-Pryormeasure is supposed to help provide tailored job searching tools for returning veterans.
The Department of Defense has released a report identifyingseveral education and training issues it hopes to resolve, including havingmilitary training pre-approved within state credentialing options.
HIRE at Homewould use existing federal funds available through the Disabled Veterans'Outreach and Local Veterans' Employment Representative programs to coordinatethis process between DoD and state agencies.