June 14, 2012

Veterans Job Caucus supports those who serve | Williamson Daily News

When construction workers and staff are hired for the new coal-to-liquid plant at Wharncliffe, Adams Fork Energy will give preference to those who have served: the country’s military veterans.

The plant will become one of the businesses that is participating in the “I Hire Veterans” initiative formed by West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin and other legislators.

Adam Victor, CEO of TransGas, the company that is building the plant, said he will participate in the initiative when construction gets underway.

“West Virginians are the most patriotic people in the country,” Manchin said at an informative presentation regarding the CTL plant. “When I spoke to Adam Victor, he agreed we need to do this for those who have served.”

“When we learned of the “‘I Hire Veterans’ paradigm, we signed up,” Victor said. “We will work with the unions to give veterans a leg up.”

A persistently high unemployment rate faces veterans. In February 2012, there were 777,000 unemployed veterans. As troops return from conflicts in the Middle East, roughly 100,000 additional service members looking for work.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time since September 2001 was 12.1 percent in 2011. Nationally, the unemployment rate was about three points lower. And on top of that, young male veterans between the ages of 18 and 24 had an unemployment rate of 29.1 percent in 2011.

“That number is absolutely mind boggling,” Manchin said. “I know there are many efforts out there to help our veterans find employment, but it’s clear that we can do more.”

Sen. Manchin is asking businesses small and large to make a person and public commitment to hiring veterans.

Sen Manchin, along with Illinois senator Mark Kirk, formed the Veterans Job Caucus in February.

The caucus started the “I Hire Veterans” program as a way to publicly commit to hiring the veterans and current serving members of the National Guard and Reserves.

“It’s a way for employers to proudly display that they have made a public and personal commitment to hiring veterans,” Manchin said. “I have three veterans working in my office, and let me say, they are some of the most skilled, dedicated and disciplined individuals around.“

Senator Manchin and the members of the Veterans Job Caucus display a “I Hire Veterans” logo in their offices to signify they have veterans or their family members on their staff.

Employers who hire veterans are encouraged to download the logo at manchin.senate.gov, or call 304 342-5855 for a copy, and post it in their workplace.

Those who are displaying the logo are asked to send a picture of it on display to ihirevets@manchin.senate.gov

By:  Julia Roberts Goad