Menendez Co-Sponsors Bill to Put American Veterans Back to Work

Menendez Co-Sponsors Bill to Put American Veterans Back to Work

Senate will vote on bi-partisan VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 this week

Washington - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) announced today that he is co-sponsoring legislation to help New Jersey's veterans get back to work. The "VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011" combines components in the President's American Jobs Act and additional initiatives to boost employment opportunities for veterans. In New Jersey, unemployment among veterans stands at 12 percent.

"This Veterans Day, let's truly honor our heroes by doing all we can to expand job opportunities and job training for those men and women in uniform returning home and those already home," said Menendez. "When they transition to civilian life, they need to know we will be there for them, that businesses are willing to help them start new careers or continue where they left off. That's why I am proud to co-sponsor the VOW to Hire Heroes Act."

Specifically, VOW would provide tax credits to incentivize private companies to hire veterans and expand training and transition resources to ensure veterans have the skills they need to access employment opportunities back in their communities.

Senator Menendez believes a grateful nation not only goes to a Veterans' Day observance or marches in a Memorial Day parade, as we should-a grateful nation shows its gratitude in the health care we provide our veterans, in how we how we take care of their disabilities, and how we take care of their survivors, for those who make the ultimate sacrifice. That's why he fought for legislation to create a new GI bill that expands educational assistance to those who have served on active duty since 9/11. He also helped pass legislation to increase funding for veterans health care and for a process to deliver timely, predictable funding for the VA health care system, ensuring resources will be there to care for our veterans.

COMPONENTS OF THE VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011

  • Unemployed Veterans Tax Credits: New tax credit 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.
  • Increased Wounded Warriors Tax Credit: Doubles the existing tax credit up to $9,600 (from $4,800) for hiring veterans with service-connected disabilities who have been looking for a job for more than six months.

Expanding Education & Training: The VOW to Hire Heroes Act provides 100,000 unemployed veterans of past eras and wars with up to 1-year of additional Montgomery GI Bill benefits to qualify for jobs in high-demand sectors, from trucking to technology. It also provides disabled veterans up to 1-year of additional Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Benefits.

Facilitating Seamless Transition:This bill would allow 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.

Improving the Transition Assistance Program (TAP): The VOW to Hire Heroes Act will make TAP mandatory for most servicemembers transitioning to civilian status, upgrade career counseling options, and resume writing skills, as well as ensuring the program is tailored for the 21st Century job market.

Translating Military Skills and Training: This bill will also require the Department of Labor to take a hard look at what military skills and training should be translatable into the civilian sector, and will work to make it easier to get the licenses and certification our veterans need.

KEY STATS ON VETERANS:

Veterans Account For Approximately 9.5% Of The Adult U.S. Population. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), in 2010, 20.2 million men and 1.8 million women in the civilian population were veterans. Of them, 2.2 million were veterans who served in the Gulf War-ear II, which is any time after September 2001, and approximately two-thirds of these recent veterans are under 35 years old. Women account for 17% of Gulf War-era II veterans. Furthermore, according to BLS, about 25% (530,000) of Gulf War-era II veterans reported having a service connected disability, whereas only 13% of all veterans have reported a service-connected disability. [BLS Employment Situation of Veterans, 10/20/11.]

Although The Overall Unemployment Rate For Veterans Is Lower Than The National Figure, The Unemployment Rate Among Veterans Returning From Iraq and Afghanistan Has Risen to 12.1%. The national unemployment rate for October was9.0%, while the overall veterans' unemployment rate was 7.7%. However, the joblessness rate for Gulf War-era II veterans, of which two thirds are younger than 35 years old, is 12.1%, up from 10.6% at this time last year. Within this group of returning veterans, 240,000 are now unemployed, up nearly 30,000 in the last year. The youngest veterans are the ones having the hardest time finding work. According to BLS, "Young male veterans (those ages 18-24) who served during Gulf War-era II had an unemployment rate of 21.9% in 2010." [BLS Employment Situation, 11/4/11; BLS Employment Situation of Veterans, 10/20/11; BLS Veterans Employment Figures, 11/4/11.]

Although We Are Making Progress, Veterans Are Over Represented in the Homeless Population, Accounting for 11.5% of All Homeless Adults. During a one year period, an estimated 144,842 veterans spent at least one night in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program, according to a recent report released by the Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Veterans Affairs (VA). While that figure is down 3% from last year, it is still an unacceptably high number. Veterans comprise roughly 9.5% of the total U.S. population, but account for approximately 11.5% of all homeless adults in America. In 2010, 1 in 150 veterans were homeless, and 1 in 16 veterans had an income below the poverty line. On a given night in 2010, over 76,000 veterans were homeless. Furthermore, in line with the high unemployment rate for younger veterans, "Young veterans are more than twice as likely to be homeless as their non-veteran counterpart, and young veterans in poverty are almost four times more likely to be homeless than their non-veteran counterparts in poverty." [HUD's 2010 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR), 10/28/11.]

KEY STATS ON NEW JERSEY VETERANS UNEMPLOYMENT:

SOURCE: U.S. CENSUS BUREAU, 2010 AMERICAN COMMUNITY SURVEY 1-YEAR ESTIMATES



http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/searchresults.xhtml?refresh=t




TOTAL CIVILIAN POPULATION 18 YEARS AND OVER

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE

Total

Veterans

Nonveterans

Total

Veterans

Nonveterans

New Jersey

6732067

453498

6278569

10.6%

12%

10.6%

Atlantic County, New Jersey

210648

18087

192561

12.2

11.6

12.2

Bergen County, New Jersey

702158

37819

664339

8.4

5.5

8.5

Burlington County, New Jersey

342193

36670

305523

8.4

10

8.3

Camden County, New Jersey

388633

33810

354823

13

11

13.1

Cape May County, New Jersey

78466

8608

69858

10.5

11.9

10.4

Cumberland County, New Jersey

119327

8851

110476

13.8

12.9

13.9

Essex County, New Jersey

588846

26590

562256

14.1

20.6

13.9

Gloucester County, New Jersey

218203

20660

197543

10.2

11.8

10.1

Hudson County, New Jersey

504371

14227

490144

13

14.1

13

Hunterdon County, New Jersey

98193

8537

89656

10

25.5

9.2

Mercer County, New Jersey

283782

18807

264975

10.5

13.1

10.4

Middlesex County, New Jersey

625640

34925

590715

9.9

11.8

9.8

Monmouth County, New Jersey

480440

37581

442859

8.5

12.1

8.3

Morris County, New Jersey

375156

24677

350479

8.5

14.2

8.3

Ocean County, New Jersey

441870

50445

391425

10.9

11.1

10.9

Passaic County, New Jersey

377541

16404

361137

11.1

10.1

11.1

Salem County, New Jersey

50567

5258

45309

16.1

12.2

16.5

Somerset County, New Jersey

243129

14505

228624

6.9

4.5

7

Sussex County, New Jersey

113541

8506

105035

11.3

10.8

11.3

Union County, New Jersey

406220

21301

384919

12.1

12.8

12.1

Warren County, New Jersey

83143

7230

75913

7.8

10.8

7.6

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