While visiting a factory in Minnesota last week, President Obama called out to Congress for support on his Veterans Job Corps initiative. The initiative aims to help veterans smoothly transition from military to civilian jobs, and cut the currently unacceptable rate of veteran unemployment. The nation’s veterans and their families face a myriad of obstacles in gaining employment in the civilian job market. Veterans often have difficulty obtaining recognition of their skills and experience from military service in the private sector, and frequent moves across the country can make fulfilling the requirements for many occupational licenses in different states extremely time consuming or expensive. The Veterans Job Corps would help tackle issues like these by putting veterans back to work in jobs that would utilize their skills gained from military service, including land and resource preservation or restoration and work as first responders or law enforcement officers.
The President’s proposed budget for the 2013 fiscal year includes $1 billion to establish the Veterans Job Corps conservation program, as well as an additional $4 billion for the COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) program and $1 billion for the SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) program. COPS and SAFER provide hiring grants and funding directly to fire departments and police stations to help them staff and operate efficiently. As proposed in the American Jobs Act, these two programs will give preference to communities that choose to hire veterans.
During his trip to Minnesota, the President said “I believe that no one who fights for this country should have to fight for a job when they come home.” President Obama has consistently demonstrated his belief that unemployment among veterans must be eradicated. Programs like “We Can’t Wait,” which made it easier for veterans to obtain necessary credentials for high demand civilian jobs in fields such as engineering and machinery, and the tax credits extended to employers who hired veterans have already made a dent in veteran unemployment. Recently, the rate of unemployed veterans has begun shrinking, giving veterans and military families hope that through the implementation of Obama’s ideas and policies, veteran unemployment can become an issue of the past.