U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, co-chair of the Senate Military Family Caucus, today praised the Senate’s passage of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act. The veterans jobs measure was approved on a 94-1 vote and passed as part of broader legislation on a 95-0 vote. The House could pass the measure as soon as next week.
Senator Boxer said, “The brave men and women who fight for our country shouldn’t have to fight to find a good job when they return home. This bill will help veterans get the job training they need to build their careers while providing incentives to employers who put veterans to work.”
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Today, there are 240,000 unemployed veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Among those veterans who served since September 11, 2001, the unemployment rate is 12.1 percent – more than three percentage points higher than the national unemployment rate. Among veterans under 25, the unemployment rate was nearly 22 percent last year.
The VOW to Hire Heroes Act includes a number of provisions to help veterans find jobs and build successful careers:
- Provides tax credits of up to $5,600 for hiring veterans who have been looking for a job for more than six months, as well as a $2,400 credit for veterans who are unemployed for more than 4 weeks, but less than 6 months.
- Offers tax credits of up to $9,600 for hiring veterans with service-connected disabilities who have been looking for a job for more than six months.
- Makes the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) – and interagency workshop coordinated by Departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs – mandatory for service members moving on to civilian life to help them secure 21st Century jobs through resume writing workshops and career counseling.
- Expands education and training opportunities for older veterans by providing 100,000 unemployed veterans of past eras and wars with up to 1-year of additional Montgomery GI benefits to go towards education or training programs at community colleges or technical schools.
- Provides disabled veterans up to 1-year of additional Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Benefits.
- Allows service members to begin the federal employment process prior to separation in order to facilitate a truly seamless transition from the military to jobs at VA, Homeland Security, or the many other federal agencies in need of our veterans.
Senator Boxer also recently introduced a bill  – the Check the Box for Homeless Veterans Act of 2011 – that offers taxpayers the opportunity to help homeless veterans by making a voluntary donation on their federal tax return to help keep these brave men and women off the streets.