Thursday, September 06, 2012

Claire McCaskill: Unemployment for veterans is unacceptable

In her latest newsletter, Sen. Claire McCaskill talks about the Veterans Job Corps Act of 2012.

When I talk to folks in Missouri, I hear widespread agreement on what we need to keep this economic recovery moving in the right direction-more good job opportunities.

It's deeply frustrating every time a person tries unsuccessfully to find a job. There's one special segment of the population, in particular, for whom this situation is proving far too common: our military veterans. 

After their service to our country, veterans of our armed forces are returning home to find that their unemployment rate is higher than the national average. That is unacceptable.

My dad was a World War II veteran, and I'm determined to keep up my fight for expanded job opportunities for our returning vets. Earlier this year, I helped launch the bipartisan Senate Veterans Jobs Caucus-a group with the sole purpose of finding ways to put more veterans to work. And as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight, I've held hearings to ensure that our veterans are being fairly considered for jobs related to defense contracting, an area where their unique skills are often greatly needed.

Through our work, it's become clear that one of the main obstacles facing returning veterans is the fact that civilian employers often don't understand how a veteran's skills translates to the private sector. Sometimes veterans are even forced to re-certify skills in order to do exactly the same work that they performed for the military. That's why I led a successful effort to ensure that when our veterans seek employment opportunities, their military training is both recognized and valued.

I'm also pleased that next week the Senate will take up legislation I strongly support, the Veterans Jobs Corps Act of 2012, aimed specifically at increasing employment opportunities for veterans. The legislation would establish a veterans jobs corps to employ veterans as firefighters and police officers, and in jobs to maintain, protect, and preserve our public lands.  It's legislation I'll fight to get passed into law.

Over the last decade, hundreds of thousands of our military heroes have answered the call of duty-duty that has often involved deployment overseas into active combat zones. It's our duty to ensure that the promises made to our veterans are kept, and that they have the access, opportunity, and training they need to find a good job once they come home.

Expanding job opportunities for all folks looking for work, not only veterans, is crucial. From crossing the aisle to write bipartisan jobs legislation to create jobs on road and bridge projects, to my strong support for U.S. energy jobs through projects like the Keystone Pipeline, I've proved my willingness to compromise and find common ground in order to tackle these tough problems. But our veterans didn't compromise during their service to our country, and I plan to follow their example by making my commitment to jobs steadfast and unwavering.    

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