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Feb 07 2012

Manchin, Kirk Unveil the Senate Veterans Jobs Caucus

New bipartisan group will work to reduce the unemployment rate among veterans

Senator Jon Tester will also join caucus 

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) today announced that they have formed the bipartisan Senate Veterans Jobs Caucus, which will work to decrease the unemployment rate of the nation’s 857,000 veterans who are currently looking for work. Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.) has also joined the caucus. 

“As you know, one of the few issues that unifies Congress is giving veterans the benefits and respect they have earned and deserve,” Senator Manchin wrote in a letter to his Senate colleagues, encouraging them to join the caucus. “We have a great opportunity to come together and show that we value the skills, talents, and abilities of our veterans – and to show that they will always have this country’s gratitude.” 

“Veterans made tremendous sacrifices for this country and it's our responsibility to support them when they come home,” Senator Tester said.  “I expect this group to build on last year's veterans’ jobs bill and create good job opportunities that honor the service of our men and women in uniform.”  

With combat operations drawing to a close in Iraq, and forces coming home from Afghanistan, the Senators believe now is the time to focus on the needs of these veterans once they return home. The Senate Veterans Jobs Caucus will also work to reduce unemployment among members of the National Guard and Reserve, who have also faced challenges finding work. 

In order to directly address employment-related issues, the Senate Veterans Jobs Caucus has four objectives: 

  • Develop a robust Senate “I Hire Veterans” program, which will invite Senators to display the “I Hire Veterans” logo if they have a veteran or a current serving member of the National Guard and Reserves on their personal, state or committee staff. The logo can be displayed in a Senate office, on business cards, or anywhere that Senators choose;

  • Hold monthly Member or staff-level events to share information on veterans employment initiatives;

  • Monitor veterans employment issues by working with constituents, government and service organizations to help provide solutions; 

  • Work with local, state and national employers on a comparable “I Hire Veterans” program. 

The following groups have endorsed the Senate Veterans Jobs Caucus: American Veterans (AMVETS), Army Aviation Association of America (AAAA), Association of the United States Army (AUSA), Association of the United States Navy (AUSN), Fleet Reserve Association, Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH), National Association for Uniformed Services (NAUS), National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS), National Military Family Association (NMFA), Non Commissioned Officers Association of the United States of America, and the Retired Enlisted Association (TREA). 

Background: 

  • The jobless rate among post-9/11 veterans continues to be higher than the national average. 

  • Women veterans have one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation. 

  • Almost 20 percent of women who served in the military after September 11 are unemployed. 

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