Legislation would assist military men and women in finding jobs

Legislation would assist military men and women in finding jobs

BOSTON – Senator John Kerry, along with Senator Kit Bond (R-Mo.), today announced that they would introduce legislation that would create a grant program to assist members of the National Guard and Reserve and former and current members of the Armed Forces in securing employment in the private sector. Congressman Patrick Murphy (PA-08) introduced a companion bill in the House.

The "Hire a Hero Act" aims to connect veterans with good jobs after their service to our nation. The legislation authorizes $25 million annually to the National Guard Bureau which will, in turn, award funding on a competitive basis to nonprofit organizations that assist former members of the Armed Forces in finding jobs.

"America’s men and women in our military are true heroes, and we all agree that they have done an incredible job serving our country with honor and courage. So once the boots come off and our servicemen and women come home, the very least we owe them is a fair shot at getting a job. This bill will create a grant program to help our veterans find the jobs they want, and it’s a small way to say thanks for their service. It’s time that we honor their commitment to us by helping them get on their feet and pursue their dreams," said Senator Kerry. "I want to thank Senator Bond for co-sponsoring this legislation, and also thank my friend and Iraq War vet Patrick Murphy – who knows very personally how important this issue is to our brave veterans like him returning home from war."

"The honor bestowed upon our nation’s troops should not stop after they have returned from the battlefield. It is our duty to assist our warfighters’ transition back into America’s workforce and society. I’m proud to be a cosponsor of this legislation that will afford a brighter future for our warfighters who have patriotically served us and our country," said Senator Bond.

"We owe it to this new generation of veterans to help them realize the dreams they helped defend," said Congressman Patrick Murphy. "Hire a Hero follows in the footsteps of programs that have been tremendously successful in helping veterans transition from combat to the workforce. I am proud to lead this effort in the House and I thank both Senator Kerry and Senator Bond for their work and leadership in the Senate."

The national unemployment rate for young veterans, many of whom have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, is three times the national average. Aside from the financial and emotional strain this unemployment has placed on our young veterans and their families, it has placed a significant cost on the government as well. At the same time, industries like transportation are facing skilled labor shortages that could be offset by the influx of military personnel transitioning back to the workforce.

The bill is modeled after a successful veterans’ employment transition program, Helmets to Hardhats. Helmets to Hardhats and programs modeled after it have assisted thousands and thousands of members of the armed forces in finding jobs in various skilled trades; ranging from construction to transportation. The success of Helmets to Hardhats has been noted by the National Guard, the Department of Labor, and Members of Congress.