WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives will vote on The Veteran Opportunity to Work (VOW) Act of 2011 (H.R. 2433), legislation co-sponsored by Rep. Jeff Denham. On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the latest unemployment figures, and while the national unemployment rate held at 9.1%, there was an alarming rise in veteran unemployment – from 7.7 percent to 8.1 percent nationwide. Currently in California, 9.7 percent of veterans are currently unemployed.
Denham, member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, co-sponsored the comprehensive legislation, authored by Rep. Miller, to help stem the rising unemployment rate among America’s veteran population, which stands at nearly 1 million. Denham supports passage of the legislation on the House Floor today. The bill is a 360-degree approach that incorporates education, training, protections, and eliminates roadblocks in the system to provide veterans with the opportunity to compete in a 21st century economy, according to a news release from Denham's office.
“We all know the economic crisis facing our country and how hard it is to find work; the same is true for our Veterans. Many times the struggles of our service members are forgotten and we need to empower them to use the skills they have to get jobs,” Denham said in the release.
This legislation provides long-term solutions to help Veterans understand the skill s they have and find the best jobs they can. With increased knowledge of the programs and services available to them, our brave men and women will be better equipped when returning home from service and transitioning back into their communities, according to the release.
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Currently two-thirds of unemployed veterans are between the ages of 35-64, while one-third of veterans who are out of work are Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. One of the hardest challenges for veterans is taking the skills they have gained in the military and applying those skills to civilian jobs.
“This legislation will help ease the transition into the civilian workforce and further improve the educational and employment benefits our Veterans currently receive,” said Denham.
Outside support for the bill includes The American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Fleet Reserve Association, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Military Officers Association of America, Military Order of the Purple Heart, National Association for Uniformed Services, National Association of Realtors, Paralyzed Veterans of America, The Military Coalition, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, and Vets1First.