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House Committee Reaches Out to Corporations to Combat Veteran Unemployment

The House Veterans' Affairs Committee hosted a summit aimed at getting the private sector involved in helping reduce Veteran unemployment.

In an on-going effort to address the problem of unemployment among the nation’s Veterans, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee hosted a jobs summit Sept. 13. The committee invited corporations that offer programs dealing specifically with recruiting Veterans for employment in order to discuss best practices and ways to spread these types of programs to other companies.

“When the brave men and women who serve our nation in uniform leave to deploy overseas, they don’t just leave behind their family and friends, oftentimes they leave behind jobs and livelihoods as well,” said Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN), a member of the committee. “I want to work with veterans and employers alike to make sure our warriors have access to a good paying job to support their families when they return.”

Although Rep. Jeff Miller, committee chair, lauded government programs like the recently-approved Veterans Opportunity to Work Act and the Post-9/11 GI Bill as having the potential to create a “Veteran workforce [that] will become the most highly-skilled and qualified workforce since World War II,” Veterans still encounter the problem of translating that training into skills for the civilian workforce.

Daniel Nichols, executive director for the Military to Medicine program at Inova Health Systems, explained the problems many businesses have when hiring Veterans.

“Honestly, it comes down to the Department of Education not recognizing the Department of Defense as an accredited or certified training body,” he said during testimony before the committee. “Therefore, the training that’s experienced in the military . . . effectively cannot be accepted by state and national credentialing boards.”

Indeed, lack of training appears to be aggravating the current unemployment crisis. There are 3 million jobs in this country that remain unfilled due to the lack of a workforce with the appropriate skills.

Miller called on the summit’s attendees to take action in resolving the problem by creating job training programs that could allow potential employees to gain the skills needed to fill the positions.

As the summit concluded, he encouraged the representatives of the participating corporations to sign a pledge to help meet the committee’s goal of reducing Veteran unemployment to less than 5 percent over the next two years.

Some of the companies that took part in the summit include Walmart, Microsoft, General Electric and Northrop Grumman.

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