Employment Law Updates | New Proposed Legislation
July 19, 2012
Senate, House Panel Pass Legislation Reducing Red-Tape for Unemployed Veterans
Veteran Skills to Jobs Act
H.R. 4155, S. 2239, 6/29/2012
The Senate has unanimously passed legislation aimed at lowering the high unemployment rate among veterans.
The measure, the Veteran Skills to Jobs Act of 2012, is designed to help veterans more easily obtain licenses required for civilian jobs. More specifically, the bill requires federal agencies to recognize relevant military training when certifying veterans for federal occupational licenses. The agencies would have 180 days to streamline licensing procedures once the legislation is signed into law.
In the House of Representatives, the counterpart legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) and co-sponsored by Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN) to make it easier for veterans to find jobs using skills acquired through military training was passed out of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee with unanimous bipartisan support. Denham’s legislation was subsequently moved to the House Floor for a vote.
Earlier this year, Rep. Denham introduced H.R. 4155, the Veteran Skills to Jobs Act, in the House to address the unacceptably high rate of veteran unemployment by streamlining the federal certification process and cutting through the bureaucratic red tape, making it easier for veterans to utilize the skills they acquired in the military to find work at home.
“With 200,000 servicemen and women transitioning to the civilian workforce each year, we must ensure that they are able to find jobs. This legislation will remove some of the obstacles in our veterans’ way by reforming the licensing and credentialing process to put our veterans to work here at home,” said Denham. “Helping our returning veterans find jobs is not the concern of one party or one body of Congress, and today’s effort moves us one step closer to enacting this bill into law.”
Rather than going through the process of redundant trainings for jobs they are already qualified for, Denham’s legislation directs the head of each federal department and agency to treat relevant military training as sufficient to satisfy training or certification requirements for federal license. Veterans with the relevant training would be eligible to receive a federal license and get back to work immediately.
“When you come back from war, you shouldn’t have to do battle with bureaucrats,” said U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who introduced the bill along with fellow Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).
“This will remove some of the obstacles in our veterans’ way and should make it easier for them to get licenses when they get home,” Nelson added.
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