The American Legion has thrown its support behind President Barack Obama’s jobs plan, saying his new initiative and the approval Thursday by a House committee of a veterans’ career counseling bill could help put thousands of unemployed veterans back to work.
“Far too many of our young veterans are returning home to find they can’t get back into the workforce,” said American Legion National Commander Fang A. Wong. “So, the American Legion heartily welcomes the jobs plan initiatives pertaining to veterans announced by President Obama.”
Wong cited a recent report by Congress' Joint Economic Committee that puts veterans' unemployment rate significantly higher than the national average. He said Obama’s proposals for reducing the veteran jobless rate, including tax credits for companies that hire veterans, could help open up more opportunities in the private sector.
“The president has challenged the private sector to hire or train 100,000 jobless veterans by the end of 2013,” Wong said. “We join the president’s call to action, but would like to up the ante. The American Legion is challenging America to bring veterans unemployment below the 5-percent mark before Election Day of 2012.”
Wong also praised the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee for approving a bill Thursday to help smooth the transition for service personnel leaving active duty.
The bill, known as the Veterans Opportunity Work Act, is sponsored by Committee Chairman Jeff Miller, R-Fla. It would help veterans obtain licenses or certifications for skills learned in the military.
“Military training and experience needs to be recognized by civilian employers. This is an issue The American Legion has taken to the White House and Congress many times,” Wong said. “Now we are seeing some results – in the president's new initiatives to get more veterans hired, and in the VOW Act that is making its way to a vote on the House floor.”
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